McDonald’s USA Joins GreenBlue’s How2Recycle Label Program as its First Restaurant Participant

Mar 24, 2014 10:00 AM ET
Campaign: How2Recycle Label

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, March 24, 2014 /3BL Media/ - GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) today announced that McDonald’s USA will be the newest participant in its How2Recycle Label Program. A member of the SPC since 2005, McDonald’s is the first national restaurant chain to join How2Recycle, a program dedicated to clearly and consistently communicating recyclability to the public.

McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) takes packaging sustainability into consideration at several steps in its supply chain, from responsible forestry and fiber sourcing to using recycled materials in production. McDonald’s use of the How2Recycle Label demonstrates the company’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainable behaviors by clearly articulating to customers end-of-use packaging options.

“McDonald’s is committed to reducing waste. Labeling our packaging with SPC’s How2Recycle label provides an opportunity to extend the behind-the-counter recycling efforts at the restaurant by helping consumers to determine how to recycle some McDonald's packaging at home," said Susan Forsell, VP, Sustainability for McDonald’s USA.

Initially, McDonald’s will label their standard paper carryout bags with the “Widely Recycled” version of the How2Recycle Label. The “Widely Recycled” label indicates that at least 60% of the U.S. population has access to recycle the particular packaging materials used.

The McDonald’s carryout bags will include the additional message, “Recycle if Clean & Dry,” since bags dirtied by a significant amount of grease or food residue are often not accepted in recycling programs. The How2Recycle Label requires that all components of a package be labeled--for consistency and transparency--and that extra messaging be used for unique packages that could contaminate the recycling stream due to consumer actions or additional packaging components.

McDonald’s is also exploring the use of the How2Recycle Label on other packaging, including the iconic Happy Meal box which could help educate younger consumers about proper recycling techniques.

The company has also been involved in the SPC’s Foodservice Packaging Industry Leadership Committee (ILC) that focuses on design and recovery opportunities to make foodservice packaging more sustainable. Additionally, the SPC and McDonald’s both collaborate with the leading trade association in this field, the Foodservice Packaging Institute, FPI.

“The participation of McDonald’s in the SPC’s projects has been invaluable in identifying best practices, understanding design, and generating efforts for post-consumer foodservice packaging recovery,” said Anne Bedarf, GreenBlue Senior Manager. “We’re thrilled to have McDonald’s lead the way for quick service restaurants in promoting packaging sustainability; their size, influence, and commitment is substantial, and we couldn’t be happier to have them on board.”

How2Recycle is a program of GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). The SPC’s goal is for the How2Recycle Label to appear on the majority of consumer goods packaging by 2016 and to provide participating companies with detailed information regarding the recyclability of their packaging. Any company interested in joining How2Recycle or obtaining a fee sponsorship should visit and contact Anne Bedarf at

How2Recycle sponsorships are available for the use of the Store Drop-off Label. These sponsorships are made possible through the support of the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) of the American Chemistry Council.

For How2Recyle program updates, follow us on Twitter @How2Recycle.

GreenBlue® is a nonprofit that shapes the business of sustainability. We arm the agents of change with the science and resources needed to make business more sustainable. The organization’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition® is a membership group that brings together business, educational institutions, and government agencies to collectively broaden the understanding of packaging sustainability and develop meaningful improvements for packaging solutions, and holds two conferences each year to further this goal. For more information follow us on Twitter @GreenBlueOrg.

McDonald's USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 26 million customers every day. Nearly 90 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. Customers can now log online for free at approximately 11,500 participating Wi-Fi enabled McDonald's U.S. restaurants. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds or @McCafé and Facebook for updates on our business, promotions and products.