Reusable packaging at Burger King is a Whopper of an idea [Updated]

Dennis Lee
·2 min read

Update, May 4, 2021: Starting today, Burger King is launching a pilot packaging program that covers eight of its most frequently used customer-facing items, which are forks, knives, straws, spoons, drink lids, fry pods, Whopper wrappers, and napkins. This alternative material packaging will be tested in 51 Burger King-owned restaurants in Miami.

Fry pods will be made of renewable unbleached virgin paperboard, cutlery will be plant-based plastic (cPLA), and napkins will be made of 100% recycled fiber. Customers can give feedback on the packaging so changes can be made with the supplier as needed, later, and once the pilot test is completed, Burger King will use that information to create plans for sustainable packaging nationwide in the next year.

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Burger King is still partnering with Loop to reduce single-use packaging with reusable containers, and are planning on adding Paris and London to their test cities.

Original post, October 23, 2020:In a bit of non-cow farting news, Burger King is quietly experimenting with a potentially environmentally friendly change by testing out reusable packaging for food, soft drinks, and coffee, The Hill reports. BK is partnering with TerraCycle’s zero-waste delivery platform, called Loop, to get this started.

When you order your food and choose the reusable packaging option for the first time, you’ll be charged a deposit fee which will be returned when the reusable packaging is returned, Burger King’s press release states. Everything will be washed and reused to prevent excess packaging waste.

I am in favor for this idea, though I’m sure, knowing me, some of these containers are going to sit in my car for a little too long. I can’t guarantee they’ll smell too good, either, but now that cold weather is coming, maybe it won’t be as bad as food remnants in summer heat. Or, I imagine, if people really like the packaging they’ll just keep it at home for a while and reuse it there, though I’m not sure how much use you could get out of a plastic clamshell box, except maybe as a place to save extra ketchup packets.

It seems like BK isn’t messing around, either. Pilot testing is expected to start in 2021 in very large markets, including Tokyo, Portland, and New York City, with other cities added in the coming months.

Since there’s been such a large increase in takeout, hopefully this will cut down on all the empty paper cups and burger wrappers blowing around like tumbleweed down my street.

Burger King is bringing in other brands, including Kraft-Heinz, so that they can also hopefully participate in some way. The aim is to make 100% of Burger King’s packaging renewable, recycled, or produced from certified sources by 2025 in the U.S. and Canada.