Technological watch

McDonald’s Franchisee to Replace Plastic Food Tray with Sustainable Alternative

Arcos Dorados, an independent McDonald’s franchise which operates restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean, advances in its commitment to drive a positive impact on the environment, announcing the substitution of the plastic trays used by clients in its outlets with a more sustainable version.
UBQ™’s Patented Technology to Convert Waste into Thermoplastic
The new trays represent the first step in the partnership between Arcos Dorados and UBQ™ Materials, an Israeli company that has patented a technology which converts household waste into a climate positive, biobased, thermoplastic. Not to be confused with standard recycling that requires highly developed sorting, UBQ™’s technology receives landfill-destined waste that includes everything; food leftovers, paper, cardboard, and mixed plastics and can convert it all into a single composite thermoplastic material compatible with industry machinery and manufacturing standards.
UBQ™ has the potential to revolutionize the way we view waste, transforming it from a liability into a valuable resource for manufacturing. The market at large is demanding sustainable solutions and the fast-food industry is no exception. UBQ™ enables manufacturers to create products that positively impact our world, without compromising on profitability – the solution is as simple as implementation,” Albert Douer, executive chairman of UBQ™ Materials.
We as a company are fully committed to the environment and are doing everything possible to reduce the impact of our operation by means of our Recipe for the Future platform. The partnership with UBQ™ is yet another step towards introducing more and more innovative solutions to improve the world around us, and we are proud to take this first step, supporting a technology that will transform the way society recycles its organic waste”, Gabriel Serber, director of sustainable development and social impact at Arcos Dorados.
First Phase: Introduction of 7200 Trays
In this first phase, 7,200 serving trays made with UBQ™ were introduced in 30 McDonald’s restaurants in 20 Brazilian state capitals, replacing old plastic tray models. The initiative will be gradually extended to all McDonald’s restaurants throughout the country, with 11,000 additional trays already in production. Outside the presence of a UBQ™ logo, McDonald’s patrons will see and feel no difference in the iconic serving tray as the impact of this collaboration is in the intangible offset of carbon emissions. Using UBQ™ in the production of the new trays has already diverted over 1,200 kg of waste from being sent to landfills.
By converting waste and giving it new life as a raw material in manufacturing, UBQ™ prevents the pollution and harmful greenhouse gas emissions related to landfill decomposition. Every ton of UBQ™ produced prevents nearly 12 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the environment. The production of the first 18,000 trays represents an estimated reduction of 3,713 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The new trays are produced by the Semaza, whose plant is in Santana de Parnaíba, in the Greater São Paulo region. The introduction of trays made with UBQ™ will be gradually extended to the other units in the chain, while old tray models withdrawn from the restaurants will be used in the circular economy projects promoted by Arcos Dorado.

Publication date: 28/01/2021

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This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31