Most brazen environmental lie 2023

More than 20,000 people have voted online

Deutsche Umwelthilfe

This year, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) is awarding the Golden Vulture to the fast-food company McDonald's. The decision was made by more than 20,000 consumers who voted online for the "most brazen environmental lie of the year". The reason: In an absurd campaign, McDonald's uses the slogan "I am beautiful" to promote its own waste as a contribution to resource conservation. For example, used cups would be recycled into so-called Happy Meal books. In fact, however, only one-third of the disposable cups collected in McDonald's restaurants in Germany go to a special recycling process carried out in the UK. Furthermore, only 40 percent of the Happy Meal books are made from recycled cup material. For the remaining 60 percent, McDonald's uses virgin fiber, for which many trees have to be cut down. What's more, McDonald's is already using a much better alternative abroad - and that's reusable. An update with photos of today's handover in Munich and McDonald's reaction will follow around 11:30 a.m.

Barbara Metz, DUH national director:"McDonald's has more than earned the Golden Vulture for the claim that garbage is beautiful and the completely superfluous production of more and more disposable packaging waste. This is also the opinion of the people who voted in their thousands for the corporation. McDonald's is deceiving its customers with a brazen environmental lie and thus harming the environment and climate in full awareness. In 2021, the fast-food chain was responsible for a mountain of packaging waste weighing more than 44,000 tons and tens of thousands of beverage cups and food packaging disposed of in the environment. McDonald's in France shows that there is another way: there, the fast food company consistently uses reusable packaging for on-site consumption due to legal regulations. In German branches, on the other hand, you'll find almost only disposable products - and colorful advertising posters that are supposed to make up for this and tell the recycling fairy tale. In fact, a particularly large amount of disposable takeaway packaging ends up in the environment or in waste containers and is then incinerated. Recycling: non-existent."

McDonald's also claims on corresponding campaign posters that its cardboard french fry packaging is sustainable and that more than 1,430 tons of plastic could have been saved thanks to paper ice cream packaging and disposable spoons. DUH also exposes this as greenwashing.

Thomas Fischer, DUH head of circular economy:"If plastic is replaced by paper in disposable packaging, then there is still not one gram less waste. In addition, the production of paper consumes a lot of energy, water and chemicals. Paper packaging for food, such as disposable cups, is not made from packaging material that has already been used, but from virgin material or industrial waste - the latter being counted as virgin material because it has not yet completed a product life cycle. New trees are therefore cut down for new cardboard packaging, with all the associated negative environmental impacts. That's why only reusable packaging can be the solution. Because packaging that is reused many times avoids waste, saves resources and protects the climate."

Several hundred suggestions from citizens were received this year for the Golden Vulture. McDonald's won the subsequent vote (26.88 percent of the votes). In the other places follow:

  • Costa Cruises with 24.71 percent
  • Lidl with 24.39 percent
  • Klima Kraftstoffe GmbH with 19.67 percent
  • Vattenfall with 4.35 per cent

DUH demands that all nominated companies change their corporate policies and switch to truly sustainable products and processes.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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