McDonald’s pilots world first to help customers save more and waste less with Loop

Six McDonald’s restaurants in Northampton, and the surrounding area, have been chosen to pilot a sustainability world first for the company. The project, in conjunction with Loop, a global reuse platform, sees the introduction of returnable coffee cups on the menu – which will help customers save more and waste less.

For just a £1 deposit, customers can choose to have their hot drink in a returnable Loop cup, helping reduce the amount of single-use coffee cups going to recycling or landfill. And as a thank-you they will receive a 20p discount on their purchase.

That means McDonald’s customers can get a medium white coffee, with organic British Milk and Rainforest Alliance certified beans for just 79p and help the planet in the process.

Once enjoyed, customers are encouraged to bring their cup back to one of the specific Loop branded collection bins, at participating restaurants, for it to be sent for cleaning and to be used again. Those that do will receive 20p off their next medium hot drink order – meaning that after just five returns and subsequent orders, customers will break even and will continue to receive 20p off every time they pick a Loop cup*.

The scheme, which is available in restaurants and through the Drive-Thru provides ultimate convenience for our customers. Customers are able to rent a cup for the duration of their visit, and simply return it at a time that suits them. If a customer forgets their cup at their next visit they can pay another £1 deposit and return both cups next time.

The six participating restaurants are the following: In Northampton – St James’ Retail Park, Riverside Retail Park, The Derry and Weston Favell Shopping Centre, While in Wellingborough it’s the London Road and Wilby Way Roundabout stores.

Beth Hart, Vice President Supply Chain and Brand Trust, said“As a business McDonald’s is on a journey to revolutionise the way we package products to give customers the sustainable solutions they want. This partnership builds on our packaging and recycling strategy, which switches to more sustainable materials and aims to help our customers to recycle and reuse.

“We want to help customers to save more and waste less. So, to help do our collective bit in reducing the amount of single-use coffee cups going to recycling or landfill, customers can now choose a returnable hot drink cup through the Drive-thru, kiosks and front counter in these restaurants – and save money in the process.”

The cups are made from previous single use coffee cups by circular design brand Circular&Co. The cups include engineered polypropylene (PP) plastic as this is durable and easily cleaned, but the amount of plastic has been reduced by using recycled paper cup material in the outer insulation layer. This not only saves material, but also gives the cups a unique look and feel.  Plus, when the reusable cups eventually reach their end of life usage they are recycled with the resulting material being used to make the next batch of reusable cups. 

Stephen Clarke, Head of Communications for Loop in the UK, said: “Consumers are increasingly asking for more environmentally responsible options, which is why Loop is delighted to partner with McDonald’s on this ground-breaking food service industry partnership.  This collaboration now provides a simple and convenient way for McDonald’s customers to reduce waste by choosing a reusable hot drinks cup for the first time.  We hope it paves the way for reusables to become an accessible option for consumers as they enjoy their meal on the go.”

Once collected at the restaurants for cleaning the cups are sent to Loop’s local bespoke cleaning facility which was built in conjunction with industry experts EcoLab and DHL. Here the cups are cleaned and prepared for refill through protected clean hygiene zones, ensuring total separation. Loop scientifically assesses the cleanliness of the containers after each washing and drying cycle and only when the cups are perfectly clean are they approved for release and repacked to be reused again and again.

Over the last few years McDonald’s has saved more than 4000 tonnes of plastic every year by removing plastic Happy Meal toys and by switching from plastic straws, McFlurry lids and salad boxes to more sustainable options. Almost 90% of its packaging comes from recycled or renewable sources and the brand is working to increase that number. The restaurants also plan to move away from plastic wherever possible and, where it does need to use it for safety or functional reasons, it will only use 100% recycled or plant-based plastics. All packaging materials will also be fully recyclable or compostable, eliminating waste which must go to landfill.

To learn more about Loop, visit

Written by Dom Thorby