Here's why the McDLT was canceled

Every fast food chain has discontinued items, and McDonald's is no different. According to Eat This, Not That, items like Onion Nuggets, the Hula Burger, and Fish McBites have all graced the McDonald's menu in the past, along with cult favorites like Szechuan Sauce. (Remember the excitement from fans when it briefly returned in 2018?) The McDLT is just one of many discontinued items, but while some cuts were made to streamline the menu or because the item in question just was not that popular, the McDLT eventually got pulled from the menu due to concerns about the packaging's sustainability.

If you never saw the McDLT on menus, it sounds like it should be a standard menu item at McDonald's. According to Reader's Digest, the McDLT was just your regular McDonald's burger, plus lettuce, tomato, cheese, and pickles — much like a Big Mac, only not quite as large. It was first introduced in the 1980s, and lasted until the early '90s, so it outlasted several other one-hit wonders that were only available at the Golden Arches for a short time.

McDonald's removed the McDLT from its menu for environmental reasons

According to Serious Eats, temperature was a huge issue when it came to serving the McDLT. McDonald's wanted to serve the bottom bun and burger patty hot, but also wanted the lettuce and tomato to be cold when the sandwich reached the customer. So, instead of serving the burger wrapped in paper like most of its other offerings, the McDLT arrived in a styrofoam container with two separate compartments — one for the hot ingredients and one for the cold. Of course, this meant there was some assembly required, as the customer would then have to put their burger together themselves before digging in.

As Reader's Digest reports, the packaging was the primary issue. The styrofoam containers were necessary to keep the ingredients at the right temperatures — paper would not insulate the hot ingredients and separate them from cold ingredients in the same way — yet they were not great for the environment. Apparently, in the 1990s, environmental activists began criticizing McDonald's for the amount of styrofoam they were using, and the McDLT was removed from menus to help cut down on the use of non-eco-friendly materials. The McDLT has not made a comeback, but if you remember this sandwich from the '80s and find yourself craving one, you can order a Big and Tasty instead — it is topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and onions. Yum!