The new trays will be manufactured with UBQ, a climate positive substitute to plastic.
Arcos Dorados Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ARCO), Latin America’s largest restaurant chain and the world’s largest independent McDonald’s franchisee, today announced that it will substitute the plastic trays currently used by its guests with trays made from more sustainable materials, further advancing its commitment to positively impact the environment.
Since implementing its plastics reduction program in 2018, over 1.300 tons of single-use plastic have been removed from Arcos Dorados’ operation. The Company plans to continue on this path, minimizing the use of virgin materials throughout its logistics, supply chain and restaurant operations to measurably offset its carbon footprint.
The new trays represent the first step in the partnership between Arcos Dorados and UBQ Materials Ltd. (“UBQ”), an Israeli company that has patented a technology, which converts household waste into a climate positive, biobased, thermoplastic. Not to be confused with standard recycling that requires highly developed sorting, UBQ’s technology receives waste destined for landfills that includes all manner of materials, including food leftovers, paper, cardboard and mixed plastics. This mixed material is converted into a single, composite, thermoplastic material compatible with industry machinery and manufacturing standards.
In the first phase of the partnership, 7,200 serving trays made with UBQ™ will be introduced in 30 McDonald’s restaurants in 20 Brazilian state capitals, replacing old plastic trays. The initiative will be gradually extended to all McDonald’s restaurants throughout the country, with 11,000 additional trays already in production. Aside from the UBQ logo, McDonald’s guests will see and feel no difference in the iconic serving tray as the impact of this collaboration is in the invaluable offset of carbon emissions. Using UBQ in the production of the new trays has already diverted over 1,200 kg of waste from being sent to landfills.
By converting waste and giving it new life as a raw material in manufacturing, UBQ™ prevents the pollution and harmful greenhouse gas emissions related to landfill decomposition. Every ton of UBQ™ produced prevents nearly 12 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being released into the environment. According to Quantis, a global leader of environmental impact assessments, this metric qualifies UBQ™ as the most climate positive thermoplastic on the market. The production of the first 18,000 trays represents an estimated reduction of 3,713 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent.
“As a company, we are fully committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operation as part of our Recipe for the Future ESG platform. The partnership with UBQ™ is yet another step toward introducing increasingly innovative solutions to improve the world around us, and we are proud to take this next step, supporting a technology that will transform the way society recycles its organic waste,” stated Gabriel Serber, Director of Social Impact and Sustainable Development at Arcos Dorados.
The new trays are produced by the Brazilian company Semaza Comércio de Plástico Ltda., in its plant in Santana de Parnaíba, in the Greater São Paulo region. The introduction of trays made with UBQ™ will be gradually extended to additional restaurants in the Company’s footprint, and the old plastic trays will be re-used in other circular economy projects promoted by Arcos Dorados.
“UBQ™ has the potential to revolutionize the way we view waste, transforming it from a liability into a valuable resource for manufacturing. The market at large is demanding sustainable solutions and the quick service restaurant industry is no exception. UBQ™ enables manufacturers to create products that positively impact our world, without compromising on profitability – the solution is as simple as implementation,” said Albert Douer, Executive Chairman of UBQ Materials.\