McDonald’s tests its own returnable deposit system

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Customers at McDonald’s in Berlin and Munich have recently begun receiving beverages and desserts in returnable containers with deposits on request. The packaging is offered for consumption in the restaurant as well as in takeaways at the McDrive. The new offer shows how much movement there is in the refill sector. No wonder, since reusable is an excellent way to address the issues of circular economy and climate protection.


From 2023, restaurants, snack bars and cafés in Germany will also have to offer their customers a reusable option when selling on the street. This was decided by the German parliament in May 2021 – thus promoting a development that is increasingly looking for alternatives to single-use packaging far beyond Germany.


Reusable with deposit

The fast food chain McDonalds is responding to this and has recently started offering its customers reusable containers for their drinks and desserts on request. A deposit of one euro is charged per reusable container when it is handed out. The deposit is refunded in full when the container is returned to a McDonald store.

So far, the offer is only running in selected restaurants in the metropolitan areas of Berlin and Munich. At the end of the current test phase, however, the returnable system is to be rolled out nationwide.


Feedback welcome

Employees and guests can give their feedback on the new reusable packaging solutions in the stores. With the help of the feedback, McDonalds intends to further optimize the design of the cups after the end of the current test phase.

The company had already launched a pilot project in Munich at the beginning of 2020, in which deposit cups from Recup were used.


McDonalds always relies heavily on customer feedback when introducing alternative packaging solutions. For example, following corresponding test projects in 2019, it had already started selling burgers in grass paper and using wrapping paper instead of cardboard boxes for other, selected products in subsequent years.


Reusable into the circular economy

Reinforced by regulatory pressure, the take-away sector in particular is moving very strongly in the direction of reusables. However, the search for suitable refill solutions goes far beyond this and covers almost all segments and industries.

This is no coincidence, as reusable solutions in particular are ideally suited to addressing the key issues of circular economy and climate protection. You don’t have to be a prophet to predict that we’ll see a lot more in this area.

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