DUBAI // Styrofoam containers will be scrapped in all McDonald's restaurants across the Gulf within two months. The chain's 286 stores in the region, including 72 outlets in the UAE, will switch to more environmentally friendly cardboard packaging, said Rafic Fakih, the managing director of McDonald's Emirates. "It is much better," he said. "We have been working for that for a long time ... cardboard is more sustainable and better for the environment."
The latest move in the Emirates towards more environmentally friendly retail practices follows a draft resolution in November submitted to Abu Dhabi authorities to ban all plastic bags in shops by the middle of this year. McDonald's licence holders across all Gulf countries, along with the chain's global corporate head office, decided about two years ago to eliminate styrofoam packaging to bring them in line with stores in North America, said Mr Fakih. While styrofoam packaging is biodegradable, it is produced from petrol, a non-renewable resource, he said.
But existing supply deals still have to be completed and new packaging has to be designed. All McDonald's restaurants in the Gulf buy packaging from one or two suppliers, to negotiate better prices. The chain's three newest sandwiches are already served in cardboard packaging and new packaging should arrive for the rest of the menu in the next two months, Mr Fakih said. The change would not affect food or drink prices, he said.