McDonald's Hong Kong Is Swapping Plastic Cutlery For Wood

In 2010, plastic waste measuring up to nearly 8 million metric tons was found in the oceans (via Independent). Studies find that of the 12 million plastic items collected from coastlines, 88% of the plastic waste can be attributed to fast food packaging, making it the biggest global contributor to plastic waste. 

Thankfully, the last decade has seen massive growth in sustainability awareness and a wave of decisions have been made by the world's leading fast food chains to swap plastic items with environment-friendly alternatives. Starbucks replaced plastic straws with strawless lids in nearly 28,000 stores across the world, Taco Bell made the move to recycle the 8.2 billion hot sauce packets that it gets through each year, and Burger King launched a pilot program in Miami to test green packaging alternatives to eight of its most prominent plastic items (via Food & Wine).

McDonald's isn't far behind in its effort to cut back on its use of plastic either. Recently, the chain announced that it aimed to make a complete switch from plastic Happy Meal toys to ones made from recyclable or renewable materials by 2025. That's not the only environment-conscious decision that the home of the Big Mac is making though. It turns out, McDonald's is also going plastic-free with its cutlery.

McDonald's has worked towards plastic-free in several countries

After petitions called for McDonald's to put a stop to plastic straws, the chain has already implemented alternatives at its outlets in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Sweden, Norway, and Australia (via NPR). McDonald's has also been working towards banning all single-use plastic items at its Canadian stores, a move that's predicted to remove 840 tons worth of plastic waste in the country (via Packaging Gateway).

Now, McDonald's has announced that its restaurants and McCafé stores in Hong Kong are ditching plastic cutlery for forks, knives, and spoons made from wood. The move comes as part of McDonald's' aim to be more sustainable by using recycled or certified sources for 100% of its primary packaging by 2025. With its new plastic-free cutlery in Hong Kong, the golden arches are one step closer to the goal.

While McDonald's Hong Kong has already gone from plastic straws to strawless lids and is currently moving towards implementing a paperless transaction system, its latest initiative is predicted to have a huge major positive impact. Per the chain's press release, cutting back on plastic cutlery will remove 90 million items from Hong Kong's plastic waste each year!