Burger King packaging transitions to reusable containers

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Addison Hwang '24, Staff Repoter

Burgers are the perfect comfort food. They bring great satisfaction, so there is no way they could be harmful, right? Well, they actually are. 

Fast food restaurants like Burger King serve about 15.7 billion customers every day. That’s more than three times the population of South Carolina. 

Not only does the production of burgers create more greenhouse gasses, but the trash from the packaging of burgers is a big problem. 

In order to stop the increase of trash, Burger King has recently teamed up with TerraCycle’s Loop to create a new eco-friendly, reusable packaging. 

Founder and Ceo of TerraCycle and Loop, Tom Szaky, said in a news release, “During Covid, we have seen the environmental impact of increased takeaway ordering, which makes this initiative by Burger King all the more important.”

Burger King will be releasing a brand new eco-friendly packaging in 2021. They will first do a test trial with these new eco-friendly packages in three select Burger King locations in New York, Portland, and Tokyo. 

But, how does this work? While ordering at Burger King, customers have an option to buy the new eco-friendly reusable packaging with their order, or they can opt to buy the usual package their orders come in. 

For now, Burger King will only be testing their eco-friendly packaging with their famous Whopper, and an option between a medium or large soft or hot drink cup. After ordering, customers will pay for your food, with an additional fee for the reusable container. Because they have to pay a fee, customers can go back to Burger King another time and return the reusable packaging, where they will receive a refund for that fee. 

According to news reports, “Once collected, the packaging is cleaned and sanitised in-house. At the end of its lifecycle, TerraCycle collects the packaging for recycling.”

If the containers are recyclable, reusable, and they can sanitize them, then they have something worthwhile”

— Michael O’Brien

This raises new questions as to whether or not consumers would opt for hte reusable packaging. 

Deanie Cooper ’24 said, “I probably would not use this because I do not know if they (Burger King) really cleaned it. I am not sure how sanitary it is, especially since it will be used over and over again.” 

So, what does “end of its lifecycle” really mean, and how will consumers be ensured Burger King will take extra precautions to keep their customers safe with their new reusable packaging, especially during this pandemic?

On the contrary, Michael O’Brien, AP Environmental Science teacher, said, “Yes, I would use it, I think it’s great. I think it will not only benefit the Earth, of course, but Burger king will probably make a profit with this, it’s a win win. If the containers are recyclable, reusable, and they can sanitize them, then they have something worthwhile.”