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Would You Eat A Whopper That Came In Reusable Packaging?

by Bill McCool on 10/22/2020 | 2 Minute Read

Sift through the contents of your average fast-food haunt, and you’ll find plenty of single-use packaging bound for a landfill.

OK, maybe don’t sift through that. Still, you’ll find lots of paper drink cups with a plastic coating, discarded ketchup sachets, and sandwich boxes galore, a veritable smorgasbord of mixed material QSR waste. 

Now, Burger King hopes to cut down on some of that waste, announcing a pilot program alongside Terracycle’s Loop that will give customers the option to select reusable packaging when they order their food. With the zero-waste packaging company behind them, BK will offer reusable containers and cups to customers in New York, Portland, and Tokyo starting in 2021.

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Here’s how it works. Customers get their Whopper and Coke in reusable vessels that they pay a deposit on. Gobble up your food and guzzle down your beverage, and then you return it to participating restaurants that are in the loop where you'll get your deposit back. Terracycle then collects those containers and sanitizes them at one of their facilities, where they are eventually returned to Burger King to get utilized once again. Rinse, repeat, circular economy—presto. 

“As part of our Restaurant Brands for Good plan, we’re investing in the development of sustainable packaging solutions that will help push the foodservice industry forward in reducing packaging waste,” said Burger King head of innovation and sustainability Matthew Banton in a press release. “The Loop system gives us the confidence in a reusable solution that meets our high safety standards, while also offering convenience for our guests on the go.”

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“During COVID, we have seen the environmental impact of increased takeaway ordering, which makes this initiative by Burger King all the more important,” said Tom Szaky, TerraCycle and Loop CEO, in the same announcement. “This enables Burger King consumers to easily bring reusability into their daily lives, and whether they choose to eat-in or takeaway, they will be able to get some of their favorite food and drinks in a reusable container.”

Back in February, McDonald’s and Starbucks announced a similar reusable cup scheme and even started another one alongside Loop in the UK last month. Hopefully, more consumers will find out about reusable programs like these so they can get adopted in more locations throughout the world.