In an effort to test various energy saving and waste-reducing methods, McDonald’s is evaluating 10 prototype “green” restaurant locations.
The restaurant is treating the 10 locations as “learning laboratories,” said McDonald’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Bob Langert, in a Q&A with DailyFinance.
One of the green prototype stores, in the Chicago area, uses 25 percent less energy than similar locations.
Energy savings and waste reduction are central to McDonald’s corporate social responsibility strategy, Langert said. Globally, the restaurant consumes $1.7 billion annually in energy and it spends another $1.3 billion handling its waste. McDonald’s has more than 31,000 locations worldwide.
Reducing waste most often comes down to redesigning, trimming and using new materials for existing packaging, he said, with solutions that can be organically composted getting the most traction. “Turning waste into something that can be useful is our vision,” Langert told DailyFinance.
So far, finding a type of biodegradable packaging made from corn or other non-tree resources has proved fruitless, Langert said. Most such options have had problems with warping or not keeping the food warm, he said.
In other news, a McDonald’s location in Cary, N.C., which was built with an eye toward sustainability and energy efficiency, is offering drivers of electric cars use of a charging station on site.