We believe a net zero world where waste is a thing of the past is possible – so we are reimagining our restaurants to make this just part of our every day.

Net zero standard restaurants       

Our commitment and goals

We will aim to transition all our restaurants to a UK industry net zero emissions standard from construction to use.

Icon of a digger above the date 2022.

By 2022 launch our first UK industry net zero emissions standard restaurant and create a blueprint for freehold new builds

From 2023 furniture in new and refurbished restaurants will be made with recycled or certified materials and designed to be recycled or reused at end of life                       

Icon of a McDonald's restaurant above the date 2030.

    By 2030 achieve net zero emissions for all our restaurants and offices    


Being sustainable for the future means making sure all our restaurants are net zero in line with the UKGBC Net Zero Emissions Standard and the SBTi net zero criteria. We are starting with our new build freehold restaurants. By 2022, we will have a blueprint for new build restaurants to use low carbon materials and construction processes.

We’re proud to have opened our first restaurant built to the UKGBC net zero emissions standard in 2021 in Market Drayton. Going forward, all our new build restaurants will meet this standard. And as we refurbish our existing restaurants, we will aim to bring them up to a UK industry net zero standard for operation, keeping us on track to meet our ambition to reach net zero emissions in restaurants and offices by 2030, and our overall goal of reaching net zero emissions across our entire business and value chain in the UK and Ireland by 2040.

All the electricity we purchase for our UK and Irish restaurants is already 100% renewable from wind and solar sources. We are investing in renewable electricity plants through the use of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). We stop used cooking oil from going to waste by transforming it into fuel that powers our delivery lorries, topped up with biodiesel from other sustainable sources, where necessary.

We want to keep our customers moving sustainably too, providing charging points for electric cars.

Our first UK industry net zero emissions standard restaurant at Market Drayton

Take a look at the future of sustainable restaurants.

Child smiling and having fun on a playground.

Looking after the next generation with highchairs and our play places made from recycled materials.

All the electricity we purchase for our UK and Irish restaurants is already 100% renewable from wind and solar sources.


The people behind our Plan

Picture of construction director Gareth.


“Our Market Drayton Restaurant is an exciting testing ground to put into practice what a net zero building, both in build and in use, looks like. From the materials used throughout the build process to how it’s powered, along with creating new areas of natural habitat to enhance the biodiversity of the site and local area, we’re bringing together skills and expertise from across McDonald’s and the partners we work with.”

Gareth Hudson FCIOB, Construction Director, McDonald’s UK & Ireland 

Closing the loop on waste

Our commitment and goals

We will create a circular system where our packaging and waste has a second life.

By 2024 our customer packaging will be made from renewable, recycled or certified sources and designed to be recyclable or compostable

By 2027 give the waste collected from our restaurants a second life by recycling, reusing or composting

By 2030 reduce the amount of material used across packaging in customer and kitchen areas in the McDonald’s system by 20% versus 2020


We believe that the future of materials is circular and that we need to close the loop on waste. Our big goal is to make sure that, by 2027, McDonald’s restaurant waste is given a second life so that nothing is truly wasted – instead it is recycledreused or composted.

When it comes to our packaging we consider what it’s made of and what happens to it after it has protected our food. None of the materials we use in our packaging will be from finite resources, and all our primary customer packaging will be recyclable in every restaurant by 2024.

We’re also developing reusable packaging for our restaurants and helping to bring packaging back to life again in fun and useful ways, such as recycling paper cups into reusable cups. We minimise food waste through our smart systems and, where we do have extra food, we are donating it to people in need.


Two young children reading a book together.

Happy Meal toys are now hard plastic-free         

Since 2021, Happy Meals in the UK and Ireland include either a soft toy, paper-based toy or book, as we continue to reduce our environmental impact across the business. We are reviewing toys made from other non-plastic materials and will include as long as they are fully recyclable. This commitment removed over 3,000 tonnes of plastic from the business in 2021. And we’re collecting some of our old plastic Happy Meal toys and recycling them into playgrounds. We have committed to donating a playground to every Ronald McDonald House.


Reimagining packaging 

We’re helping to keep waste out of nature by reducing our packaging and switching to more sustainable materials that can be recycled or composted.

We have reduced our annual plastic use by over 1,000 metric tonnes* through switching to paper-based straws, developing new McFlurry cups without lids and developing salad boxes made from card.         

     Changing to paper-based cutlery** – compostable or recyclable after use

We’ve removed the plastic lining from our breakfast platters – they are now made of sustainable board that’s recyclable.

Innovations in the packaging for our customers, and for the food in our kitchens, will help us achieve a 20% reduction in packaging material by 2030.

Picture of a salad in a paper box with a drink next to it.

Making it easy for customers to recycle

We’re making it easy for customers to play their part by installing new recycling bins across our restaurants. And we’re including clear recycling labelling on all packaging to help customers to recycle at home or in restaurants.

Paper McCafe cup.

Looping the Loop

We’re trialling the Loop platform in select restaurants. This allows customers to purchase drinks in reusable cups for a deposit, which is refunded if the cup is returned. It’s all part of our aim to reduce the number of single-use containers.


The people behind our Plan

Picture of Sustainable Technology director at Veolia, Tim.



“We know that the key to sustainability is collaboration. So, we’ve been working on innovative recycling solutions with McDonald’s to reduce and transform the waste from their restaurants and help speed up the transition to closing the loop on their materials.”

Tim Duret, Director of Sustainable Technology, Veolia (McDonald’s UK&I waste management partner)

Wrap partenrships logo.

Our partnerships with WRAP

Through WRAP we are partners of The Courtauld Commitment, the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and The UK Plastics Pact.

Orange graphic with pictures of potatoes, staff, burgers and restaurants in shapes.

Our long-term goals in full

See the details behind our Plan.


*Annual reduction in material compared to 2020

** Change made in 2021 in Republic of Ireland and 2022 in the UK

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