Although nearly three-quarters of restaurant operators report using “back-of-house” recycling programs, only 43 percent have consumer-facing recycling efforts, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association. As restaurants seek to increase recycling rates overall, one national chain has stepped up with a user-friendly solution, by adopting the How2Recycle Label.
Since we first reported on the How2Recycle Label nearly two years ago, more than twenty companies have adopted it, including General Mills*, Target and Ziploc. McDonald’s, however, will be the first restaurant chain to implement the label, which helps to reduce recycling confusion by clearly showing if a product is accepted in recycling programs, and if so, how each component should be recycled. The fast food giant will initially roll out the label on its standard carryout bags with the “Widely Recycled” icon and a statement which reads, “Recycle if Clean & Dry.” McDonald’s is considering expanding the program to other packaging items like the Happy Meal box.
Consumers are hungry for more information on recycling. In fact, 85 percent of Americans want companies to educate them on how to properly use and dispose of products, according to the 2013 Cone Communications Green Gap Trend Tracker. And while McDonald’s may be starting small by labeling just one item, the program could one day provide much-needed clarity around more complex packaging items like cups, lids and straws. Now that’s a happy meal.