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McDonald's Is Testing This New Way Of Serving Drinks

A new cup system is being introduced in the U.K.

McDonald's is making strides toward providing zero-waste solutions for its disposable food and beverage packaging. Their latest change to the way they serve their beverages brings them one step closer to the goal of sourcing all of their packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources at all restaurant locations by 2025.

Find out What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day.

The chain announced on Wednesday that they will start testing a reusable cup next year in select locations in the United Kingdom. In a partnership with recycling company TerraCycle, based in the U.S., McDonald's will provide its customers the option of choosing a durable, reusable cup for a small deposit. Once the cup is returned to a McDonald's location, it will be washed and reused, and customers will be able to redeem their deposit. Or, they can simply keep reusing their McDonald's cup themselves.

This is great news for anyone concerned with the devastating impact of wasteful single-use packaging on the environment.

The chain is already operating a similar program in other countries like Germany. In the U.S., while no such efforts have yet been announced, the company is involved in an open innovation initiative  NextGen Cup, a global design competition calling for best new ideas on how to create an easily scaleable and commercialized solution to the single-use cup.

These omnipresent cups, used for both hot and cold beverages, are notoriously difficult to recycle due to the fact that they are comprised of both paper and plastic layers which aren't easily separated. Because those two materials need to be recycled separately, single-use cups aren't accepted at most recycling facilities, and end up in landfills. 

By upgrading their beverage packaging, McDonald's could solve one of their biggest outputs of non-recyclable waste, an effort matched by a similar move from Starbucks in which they did away with plastic straws. Both companies have pledged $15 million to the NextGen Cup challenge.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more about Mura