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Video of McDonald's HQ's game-changing initiative sparks curiosity online: 'Why not do this for all McDonald's restaurants?'

"I'd totally eat all the leftover pickles!"

“I’d totally eat all the leftover pickles!"

Photo Credit: iStock

A remarkable device at the Chicago headquarters of fast-food giant McDonald's has piqued the interest of TikTok viewers, who are wondering why the composting system is not found at stores across the United States.

McDonald's explained how its Somat System turns waste food from test kitchens, taste panels, and in-house catering into the material that helps provide food and nutrients for the living roof at its HQ.

The leftovers are first put into the Somat to be ground up and dehydrated, and the resulting mixture is collected by recycling partner Waste Not, which turns it into compost.

According to McDonald's, 7,000 pounds of waste food was diverted from landfills and turned into compost in just four months. 

@mcdonalds_corp McDonald's Global HQ in Chicago is tackling food waste through an incredible composting program in collaboration with @‌wastenotcompost and Somat Waste Reduction Solutions – where as much as 200 lbs of food can be diverted from landfills per week. 😲 #EarthDay #FYP #ForYouPage #McDonaldsCorporate #McDonalds ♬ Countless - Official Sound Studio

One TikTok user was impressed, but they raised an interesting question in response to the company's initiative.

"Why not do this for all McDonalds restaurants with all the food waste?" they said.

Meanwhile, another TikToker had an alternative solution to dealing with the restaurant's leftovers.

"I'd totally eat all the leftover pickles!!" they suggested.

The Environmental Protection Agency says around one-third of all food in the United States goes uneaten, with just 4% composted in 2019. The other 96% went to landfills, combustion facilities, or sewage systems. 

While one TikToker asked, "Wouldn't it just compost in the landfill?" that's not necessarily the best way to deal with unwanted food. 

When food is sent to landfills, it encourages the creation of methane, a powerful planet-warming gas that is up to 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Composting food waste is much more planet-friendly than simply throwing it out, and after a few months, it can deliver nutritious, free soil for your garden. 

The EPA says 66 million tons of wasted food was generated in the food retail, food service, and residential sectors in 2019, so resourceful solutions like the one found in McDonald's Chicago base demonstrate just what can be done to reduce the polluting impact of the problem.

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