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McDonald's has made a major packaging update for iconic menu items: '58 million tons of pollution annually'

"We are pushing to do it globally."

McDonald's France, McDonald's reusable packaging

Photo Credit: iStock

McDonald's France sent social media into a frenzy with its all-new "reusable" packaging. The viral moment started when Juan Buis, a Twitter user based in Paris, shared a photo of his meal.

"Absolutely *loving* the design of this reusable packaging that's being introduced at mcdonalds france," Buis wrote

The image shows reusable plastic cups and large, iconic McDonald's-red containers for fries and potato wedges (a side item that's sadly unavailable in the U.S.). Posted on Nov. 19, the tweet quickly took off — gaining nearly 400,000 likes in just three days.

Buis followed up with a photo of a new McDonald's France Happy Meal, showing a kids' option that can be washed and reused time and time again.

The move is tied to a French law that went into action in 2020. The legislation banned single-use plastic plates, cutlery, and straws in restaurants across the country. 

Since then, large chains have made attempts to catch up with the law's demands. Separately, McDonald's has been attempting to make its packaging more sustainable overall — an ongoing process that some critics have called insufficient

In 2019, McDonald's produced over 58 million tons of planet-warming gas pollution. And last year, the company announced new plans to reduce its negative environmental impact — including a promise to majorly reduce the amount of plastic used in its Happy Meal toys. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, for one, was excited by the new McDonald's packaging. Retweeting Buis' original post, Marcon praised the benefits of France's "anti-waste law."

"The anti-waste law is not only the end of plastic straws," he wrote. "Look around you: in France, changes are at work to change our consumption patterns and reduce our waste. We are pushing to do it globally. Let's change the situation!" 

Other Twitter users also praised the measure, although others raised questions about how sustainable it really is. Many questioned whether the new McDonald's packaging was better for the environment since it uses plastic containers that are much harder to recycle

"I wish they used glass or metal. Plastic breaks down over time. It breaks down faster when exposed to heat. The chemicals from the plastic absorb into food when it's hot. This is a beautiful design but a poor solution," one Twitter user wrote.

"The problem is single-use plastics," another user argued, pointing out that the McDonald's containers will theoretically be used thousands of times before disposal. 

"I'm sorry, but I'd hide these in my jacket and take them home with me so fast. No, it's not stealing. It's collecting art," another joked.

"You can find reusable packaging at a few mcdonalds in france, i was surprised when i first saw it," another user wrote

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