smooth first days of symbolic size
STORY – Since 1uh January, some fast food chains have been forced to serve their food on reusable plates. In practice, implementation doesn’t happen so quickly.
New rules have been formalized with great fanfare. On January 2, Minister of Transitional Ecology and Regional Planning Christophe Béchu and his colleague Bérangère Couillard, Secretary of State for Ecology, went to McDonald’s in Le Mans (Sarthe). Purpose: to promote the elimination of single-use cutlery in certain fast food chains – only those with at least 20 seats. Drinks and food consumed on the spot must, because 1uh January, served in appropriate cups, plates and containers. By going to fast food restaurants where plastic jars have been offered to customers since October, Christophe Béchu wants to encourage chain ends to jump on board. But days after this obligation went into effect, following the 2020 Agec law vote, not necessarily all the restaurants concerned are there.
This week, Le Figaro wanted to check in a few stores whether ecological measures, to limit the amount of waste generated, were properly complied with. At McDonald’s 9e arrondissement, head to Opera, new rules apply. French fries and potatoes are served in a red plastic case, reminiscent of the company’s color; just like various drinks in transparent glasses that are no longer made of cardboard. After use, this accessory is returned by the customer to the sorting site. They are then stored and properly laid out for washing in the kitchen, before being reused. For several years, McDonald’s has ruled out all single-use cutlery. 97% of the restaurant’s packaging is in “paper, paperboard or printed fiber”, determines the sign. In other franchises of the chain in the same district, it’s the other way around. No plastic utensils are offered: everything is still in packaging. Consumers themselves are not aware of the new rules.
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How to explain the difference between these two sites? “90% of McDonald’s restaurants in France have been ready since 1uh January. With the exception of a few sites, which have to ensure dish implementation, we’ll be there. The restaurant has recruited an additional team to accompany customers in the dining area and manage the dishwashing“, showing the American sign to Figaro. And to add:We followed this project very closely to measure customer acceptance of reusable solutions, actual environmental impact and effectiveness in practice.»
Franchise “enthusiastic” but with constraints
Not far, north of 9e district, other fast food brands, side by side, haven’t all followed the same rules. While the Fast franchise respects the measure, with black jars and large posters hanging up to promote the new uses, KFC still hasn’t adopted the new dish. Same situation, further south, at Burger King. At RMC in late December, the brand’s communications director, Muriel Reyss, indicated that the company “will be ready“from January”to massively deploy reusable cutlery.»
This weekend, Whopper specialists made their first assessment with Picture: “It’s a big change. We have to train each restaurant and apply speed to our franchisees, who are all different boundaries because each of them is their own boss at the head of a restaurant whose format is never the same. Which means that situations, reality, are sometimes very different. But they are very enthusiastic, just like our customers. They are playing the game, because they are, like us, committed to reducing our influence collectively.»
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For this somewhat complicated first implementation, there’s an additional case of theft, as it unfolds Parisian this week. “It is too early to predict accurately this loss phenomenon. As a precaution, we’re doing everything we can to explain these changes to our customers.“, McDonald’s delays. And it’s not a worry at high altitude either. If Christophe Béchu gave initial estimates of theft, up to 15% according to brands that have been testing the process for several months, the minister determined that the phenomenon would decrease month by month. What Burger King confirms: “During our testing phase, we have outfitted all the cutlery from the two pilot restaurants with chips to understand the proportion of cutlery that is returned to the dishwasher for washing and returned to the dining room. And what we understand is that the proportion of discs that don’t return is high initially and quickly decreases to a steady low level.»
“Action plan” in two weeks
This Friday, the two ministers in charge of this matter received the Ministry of Ecology’s 25 largest brands for a progress report. Do they sell burgers, sushi or sandwiches. For Christophe Béchu, the aim of the action was clear: to reduce20 billion single-use items that, by 2022, went in the trash at these fast food restaurants.» «We are talking about 200,000 tonnes of waste“, emphasized the former mayor of Angers (Maine-et-Loire). According to government members, two “shutterscan explain this delay in the deployment process. “There is the first aspect of disposing of dishes, and the second is that you need a dishwasher to wash themadded Christophe Béchu.
According to him, some restaurants need more time to do the work required to wash the cutlery. Some brands also remind if “everything is set“on their side for installation, delivery time not”will intervene (that) in early February“or that”in March“.”There’s no sign telling us it won’t be in 2023», stressed Christophe Béchu, remembering the «end of the first quarter, most of the professions will be there.»
In March, State gave them an appointment. Within 15 days, all brands must send the ministry “action plan (…). with the date on which they are (professionals, Editor’s note) will definitely fit or they will solve various problems“. If the fine has been set at 1,500 euros per day of violation, “the idea today is to support brands that are committed to moving forward“, convinced Bérangère Couillard. It’s also a way of instilling a bit of optimism when it comes to work: Christophe Béchu states that, “in the only sign where” they, “everything (plate, Editor’s note) made in Europe, and a third in France, in Besançon, which is good for purchasing power.“A precision that is far from insignificant and one that allows the government to back down with public opinion in a context of high inflation.