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McDonalds Litter

New report published by Litter Heroes
A Coca-Cola Landscape - the impact of big brand litter in the countryside

McDonalds Litter The 2009 survey of British litter What's Littering Britain? showed that McDonald's is the third most littered brand in the UK after Coca-Cola and Walkers Crisps. The survey also showed that McDonalds was by far the worst littered fast food brand, accounting for 28% of all fast food litter - brands like Burger King and KFC don't even come close.

McDonald's litter is not a problem restricted to the immediate vicinity of an outlet. In the What's Littering Britain? survey, McDonalds litter was found in 75% of the sites surveyed and most of these sites were in rural locations, e.g. lanes, common ground, beaches some miles of outlet.

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To demonstrate the impact of McDonalds litter in the countryside in 2008 I cycled a 19km circuit in the Cotswolds - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - and plotted and photographed every item of McDonalds litter I passed. The map on the left shows the route and where I found the litter (Scroll down for the photos).

Zoom out on the map, you will see the nearest McDonald's outlets are 5-6 miles away at Barnwood (Gloucester), Cheltenham and Cirencester.

The evidence clearly shows that McDonalds restaurants generate litter, not just in the immediate vicinity of the outlet but for several miles into the surrounding countryside.

Having said all that, McDonalds deserve some credit for their approach to litter. They are one of the few food-on-the-go companies to recognise litter as a problem and do something about it - see the McDonalds website. Their company policy is for staff to undertake daily litter picks in the immediate vicinity of their outlets. However, this has no impact on the company's litter being dropped several miles away.

McDonalds' litter Birdlip
Coming to a spot anywhere within 8 miles of a McDonalds
Litter Heroes is calling on McDonalds to recognise that littering away from their outlets is a significant environmental impact of their business and to take steps to reduce it.

Litter Heroes also believe planning authorities have a role to play. Planning consent for new fast food outlets, particularly those with drive through faclities, should not be given unless the company can demonstrate a robust litter abatement strategy extending well beyond the immediate vicinity of the outlet.

Examples of Mcdonalds litter in the countryside

These photos were taken on the 19km route described above:
McDonalds Litter Litter A435 Cheltenham
1. On the way up Seven Springs Hill, A435 Cirencester Road 2. A bit further up Sevevn Springs Hill

McDonalds Litter
3. At the top of Seven Springs hill

McDonalds Litter
4. A435 near Cowley

MacDonalds Litter Litter A435 Cheltenham
5. On the Elkstone road just off, A435 6. Going up the hill to Elkstone

McDonalds Litter 7. A couple of hundred metres up the road from the last one.

McDonalds Litter 8. On single track lane 1/4 mile short of Brimpsfield

McDonalds Litter 9. Just after Brimpsfield

McDonalds Litter McDonalds litter
10. In gateway, midway between Brimpsfield and Birdlip 11. Just outside Birdlip

McDonalds Litter McDonalds litter
12. Near junction with A417, Birdlip 13. Layby near Hot Air Balloon pub, A417

McDonalds Litter McDonalds litter
14. B4070, near Crikley Hill Country Park. 15. 1/4 mile further on, B4070 Leckhampton Hill

Fkytipping 16. 100 yards further on, B4070 Leckhampton Hill
Copyright © Tim Barnes 2008