With our awareness of the impact we have on the environment being on the rise, more of us are taking the steps that we can to become kinder to the planet. I can remember as a child learning the detrimental effects that litter can have on wildlife, and have always taken steps to reduce this. I regularly pick up litter when I am out and about, as I feel it makes the community look nicer but also is positive for nature. I was delighted to collaborate with McDonald’s on their anti-littering Keep Up The Clean Up campaign. This summer McDonald’s restaurants up and down the country have come together to Keep Up the Clean Up in the local area, as chosen by you.
Since 1982, McDonald’s has been collecting the litter that’s dropped in the local area around their restaurants and for the past 12 years they have been working with environment charities on bigger clean-up events across the UK. Since 2015 McDonald’s have installed recycling units in over 1,000 of their UK restaurants, so it’s easier to separate paper cups and plastics for recycling. Paper cups are then sent to specialist recycling centres in the UK who make different recycled products from the fibre and plastic lining. McDonald’s has set themselves a target of zero waste sent to landfill by 2020. Most of the restaurants actually reached it early, in 2017. They send their general waste to waste-to-energy power plants which reduces CO2 and the use of fossil fuels. They are also committed to having 100% recyclable packaging by 2025!
A few weeks ago on July 23rd I joined volunteers from McDonald’s and 29 of us set off to clean up Bristol Road in Gloucester, which was the area voted for by you guys. My immediate reaction as everyone gathered before the clean up was how incredible it was that a total of 23 employees from McDonald’s who were there on their day off, had shown up in their own time volunteering to help with the clean up.
I loved chatting with Amanda Toner, who works closely with her husband Paul Toner who is the franchisee of the restaurant, and learning about all the community activities they get involved with. She said that the Franchisee’s can choose what community outreach they do and it was great hearing about all the work they have done. She proudly showed me photos of a garden refurbishment they did for a local supported housing unit. They also regularly raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charity who provide families with a free ‘home away from home’ which enables them to stay close by while their child is in hospital, and last year Paul even did a skydive to raise funds. During the litter pick, Amanda said “We pick up around the restaurant everyday, we do ‘trash walks’ outside the restaurant at least every hour and walk around the perimeter of the building, we will do a slightly wider pick up once or twice a day too. About 4 times a year we do a big litter pick. The last one we did have 50 people, which was great. We always get a good turn up, people want to get involved and do stuff”.
So many people stopped and said “well done” or honked their horn as they drove past. As a member of the community it was so incredible to have so many people come together in their own time to clean up the area. I was shocked by how much litter there was, and in total we collected 25 bags of rubbish! Victoria, one of my followers, came along with her two children “I have come along today because I think it is good that everybody gets involved and makes the environment better, and it makes the kids get outside as well so win-win!”.
At the end of the litter pick I also spoke with some employees who had volunteered their time. Josh who has worked at McDonald’s for 10 years said “I like to be able to help out the community. Obviously we regularly pick up rubbish and it’s great to be able to do these larger litter picks. The last one we did was at Gloucester Park, and also last year we did up a school nursery and painted all the fences”. Melanie who is a Shift Manager at McDonald’s said “it’s great to hep out the community. I don’t live in Gloucester, but obviously I work here so it’s nice to make sure it’s all clean and tidy for everyone else”. Cheryl who lives locally and has worked at McDonald’s for 17 years brought her children along, she said she had come to “show her support”.
This post is part of a paid project with McDonald’s UK and BritMums, promoting McDonald’s Keep Up the Clean Up campaign encouraging local communities to take action and work together to tackle litter in their area.