Burger King Testing Reusable Food Packaging in Zero-Waste Effort

Burger King announced a plan to use reusable boxes and cups in its restaurants starting early next [...]

Burger King announced a plan to use reusable boxes and cups in its restaurants starting early next year to help cut down on waste. The fast-food giant is teaming up with TerraCycle's packaging service Loop as part of its "Restaurant Brands for Good" initiative. Customers who chose to use the reusable packaging will pay a small deposit, which will then be refunded when they drop off the containers after they finish eating.

The program will launch in New York and Portland in the U.S. and in Tokyo, Japan starting in 2021 before rolling out elsewhere in the following months, according to a press release. The participating locations will have a collection system where customers can drop off the cups or sandwich boxes to be cleaned thoroughly by Loop. They will then be reused at the restaurants. Loop's system completely sanitizes the food containers and cups before each use.

"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," Matthew Banton, Head of Innovation and Sustainability at Burger King Global, said in a statement. "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."

"During COVID, we have seen the environmental impact of increased takeaway ordering which makes this initiative by Burger King all the more important," TerraCycle and Loop CEO Tom Szaky added. "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."

Burger King and Loop also teamed up with Kraft-Heinz and others to help with research and insights into the pilot programs. The company hopes the program will help Burger King locations cut down on its environmental impact. They hope to make all guest packaging with renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025. The company also plans to make reusable packaging available in all U.S. and Canada restaurants by 2025.

In September, McDonald's and Loop teamed up in the U.K. to offer customers reusable coffee or tea mugs. Just like the Burger King plan, customers also have to pay a small deposit, which is refunded when the mugs are returned. McDonald's U.K. will still sell traditional, disposal cups, reports CNN.