Delta, Huhtamaki, McDonalds, and Closed Loops

Packaging Close Loops

Two paper-based Irish companies have partnered up in a bid to reduce McDonalds waste by reusing and recycling it in their processes.
[hr] McDonalds produces huge waste ─ that’s a fact. Most of it doesn’t get recycled, which makes it even worse. But now, two Irish companies have offered themselves to solve part of the problem. Delta and Huhtamaki, (Lurgan), both paper-based suppliers for the fast-food chain, partnered in a bid, Packaging News reported, to re-use and recycle McDonald’s waste by up to 20.000 kilometres a year.

The process goes as follow: waste trimmings from carton packagings leave Delta headquarters in West Belfast towards Huhtamaki, the sole supplier of McDonald’s cup carriers for UK and Ireland. After a 30km journey, the by-products are processed into a useable format and remanufactured into biodegradable moulded fibre products. And then, it’s rinse and repeat.

Philip Woolsey, the general manager of Huhtamaki Lurgan, put it simply:

[quote style=”boxed”]“Our partnership with Delta Packaging has allowed us to provide McDonald’s with a ‘closed-loop’ solution for a more traceable, environmentally and financially efficient method of transporting and recycling waste. As a result, the cup holders we supply to McDonald’s are made from 100% locally sourced recycled material.”[/quote]

Sustainable Closed Loops

As Woolsey said, this circular process is often known as a “closed loop”. The benefits of closed loops are obvious and abundant, from production enhancement to waste reduction. Sustainability is to take the most advantage of this kind of systems, as they greatly facilitate recycling and re-using all sorts of materials.

Neat McCone, director of Delta Packaging, outlined their environmentally responsible practices:

[quote style=”boxed”]“All of the raw material used in our McDonald’s packaging is responsibly sourced by using fully certified PEFC recycled board, water-based inks and fully compostable grease barriers. Our agreement with Huhtamaki provides an environmentally friendly solution for our McDonald’s waste.”[/quote]

Moreover, McCone highlighted the combined effort as a great example of “two Northern Irish packaging companies coming together for the greener good”. And this may well be the most important of all takeaways: a greener and greater good coming from close collaboration between different agents.

After all, that’s the primary objective of circular economies, a business structure that packaging has been involved in for a long time. Results have already been proven in abundance, and the main reason for industries to get involved is increasingly becoming more economical than ideological.

Closed loops are both today and tomorrow’s best bet in regards to packaging. The data speaks for itself.


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