McDonald's: Clean up Canberra!

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Macca’s: Clean up Canberra!

#CleanUpYourACTMaccas #TrashYourSelfie

I moved to Canberra in May 2017 to live with my husband. I'd never been to Australia before, and I immediately took notice of the kangaroos, the colorful birds, and the lovely scenery.

But there was something else I saw right away: trash. Litter, everywhere. In the streets, parks, even school yards. A large amount of it, more than any other brand, was from McDonald's.

As one of the world's largest restaurant chains, serving 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries, McDonald's is a major contributor to litter pollution. I think it's time they took responsibility and rectified the damage. According to Macca’s website, they are a sponsor of Clean Up Australia Day. They also have a Litter Patrol program, which their website claims is “a structured and regular task for crew members who pick up litter from within the restaurant grounds and in neighbouring streets." It does not state how often this program operates, or where.

While these initiatives are a start, they’re clearly not enough. I'm tired of seeing their trash everywhere on my walks, bike rides, and commutes. It is reprehensible. This is what I want Macca’s to commit to:

1. Conduct regular, thorough clean-up projects in Canberra, through employee volunteer programs or other methods. If feasible, they could open these clean-up projects for public participation. Summary reports of these clean-ups should be made available to the public.

2. Work with local officials and/or the Australian Government to invest in a visible public education campaign that discourages customers from littering. This campaign should take measures to explain and show how littering is harmful to Australia's ecosystem, as well as the global ocean environment.

3. Eliminate excessive packaging and phase out current take-away packaging in favor of products that biodegrade easily.

4. Be receptive to and actively encourage customers to bring their own reusable containers for take-away food (ie. KeepCups, metal straws, Tupperware containers, etc.)

In addition: I would like to make a plea to McDonald's customers. This is your responsibility as well. Stop littering — there is no excuse for it.

Please share photos of Macca’s litter you see in Canberra on social media, with the location of where you found it and the hashtags #CleanUpYourACTMaccas and #TrashYourSelfie. You can also tag @Maccas, @SteveEasterbrk (McDonald’s CEO), and @CanberraTimes.

Please sign my petition to ask McDonald's to address and adopt my proposals. Also sign to show your commitment to putting trash in the bin and reducing your personal waste output.

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I would like to note that this is based on my observations, and that I haven't conducted a formal study of Canberra's litter. That said, I'm not the first person to notice, and it's not a problem endemic to Canberra. A study conducted by Keep Australia Beautiful in 2013 showed that McDonald's had the most prolific amounts of branded litter in Queensland. More recently, a group called the Werribee River Association found a pattern of concentric rings of rubbish around fast food restaurants, and interviewees in the ABC article specifically complained about McDonald's.



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