Two Northern Irish companies, who both supply paper-based products to McDonald’s, have partnered in a bid to reuse and recycle off-cuts in their own production process to reduce the restaurant chains’ waste kilometres by up to 20,000 per year.   

The waste trimmings from the manufacture of McDonald’s carton packaging, made by Belfast based Delta Packaging, are now transported from Delta’s headquarters in west Belfast to Huhtamaki (Lurgan), the sole supplier of McDonald’s cup carriers for the UK and Ireland market, just 30km away.

The Craigavon based global packaging giant then processes the McDonald’s carton by-product into a useable format before it is remanufactured into biodegradable moulded fibre products.

Philip Woolsey, general manager of Huhtamaki Lurgan which employs over 200 people, said:

“Given the large quantity of molded fiber products, such as egg cartons and cup carriers, manufactured at our Lurgan factory each year, we continuously work with our recycling plant in Lisburn to increase our use of recycled materials, whilst improving quality and sustainability on behalf of customers such as McDonald’s.

“Our partnership with Delta Packaging has allowed us to provide McDonald’s with a ‘closed loop’ solution for a more traceable, environmentally and financially efficient method of transporting and recycling waste. As a result, the cup holders we supply to McDonald’s are made from 100% locally sourced recycled material and we look forward to developing our relationship with Delta further.”

Huhtamaki Lurgan specialises in the production of molded fiber products which are then supplied to major players within the food retail industry such as Noble Foods, Asda and more locally, Skea Eggs.

Mr Woolsey continued: “We understand the importance of contributing to a circular economy and have configured a number of bespoke machines in order to accommodate the growing demands of customers who increasingly want to produce a high quality product that is both economically and environmentally viable. A number of our employees who contributed to this process now lead other green engineering teams within the Huhtamaki Group across six continents.”

Neal McCone, Director of Delta Packaging said:

“For McDonald’s UK/Ireland, we supply a variety of carton formats, including burger clamshells, wrap cartons and the iconic McDonald’s fry carton. We also manufacture cartons for McDonald’s in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands. Delta Packaging understands the importance of managing its waste streams and finding fully transparent and traceable solutions for our McDonald’s waste.

“All of the raw material used in our McDonald’s packaging is responsibly sourced by using fully certified PEFC recycled board, water-based inks and fully compostable grease barriers. Our agreement with Huhtamaki provides an environmentally friendly solution for our McDonald’s waste – our off-cuts are put through Huhtamaki’s pulping process to create moulded fibre products. It’s a win-win situation for all concerned.

“This is a great example of two Northern Irish packaging companies coming together for the greener good of both the local environment and McDonald’s.”