KFC says its goal is to have all plastic-based, consumer-facing packaging be recoverable or reusable by 2025. The chain says this commitment supports their long-term plan to have a more sustainable packaging in its restaurants.
In order to meet these goals, the chain developed a roadmap that includes forming partnerships with major suppliers and franchisees globally to identify plastic alternatives in each market.
Key initiatives include conducting an audit of current systems with franchisees to identify plastic waste reduction opportunities, collaborating with suppliers to find sustainable packaging alternatives for items like straws, plastic bags, cutlery, and lids, as well as setting market-specific goals to reduce, reuse, and recycle, according to KFC.
“KFC will support franchisees to define and implement their own sustainability agenda to address the unique needs of local markets and customers,” the company announced. “Markets will also continue to have their own, additional local sustainability goals that vary based on local market conditions and regulations.”
Several of KFC’s markets are already working to reduce plastic. At 84 restaurants in Singapore, the chain is working to phase out plastic straws and cup lids. In Romania and France, the chain aims to replace all plastic straws with paper. In India, KFC says they are removing consumer plastic bags and transitioning to alternatives for plastic cups, bowls, sporks, and straws.
A subsidiary of Yum Brands, KFC also joins Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in supporting the NextGen Cup Consortium Challenge, formed early last year by Closed Loop Partners and Starbucks. Taco Bell recently rolled out recyclable cold cups and lids across the United States.
Parent company Yum Brands previously set a target of sourcing 100% fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources by 2020. In 2017, Yum Brands had reached 69%, according to the 2017 Global Citizenship & Sustainability Report released last summer.
KFC operates more than 22,000 quick service restaurants worldwide, which means the chain is in a position to affect how the industry approaches waste and packaging overall, says Tony Lowings, CEO of KFC. “With environmental sustainability as a core aspect of how we do business, this commitment represents a public acknowledgement of the obligation we have to address these serious issues,” he said.
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