Study reveals McDonalds to be pick of the litter

A recent study has pinned McDonalds as the most littered brand in Queensland. Wayne Williams doing one of his litter clean-ups along Seventeen Mile Rocks Road in Jindalee. Photo: Inga Williams / The Satellite
A recent study has pinned McDonalds as the most littered brand in Queensland. Wayne Williams doing one of his litter clean-ups along Seventeen Mile Rocks Road in Jindalee. Photo: Inga Williams / The Satellite Inga Williams

IT is the world's largest restaurant food chain, serving about 68 million customers daily in 119 countries.

But not only has McDonalds become a symbol of globalization, it is now the most littered brand in Queensland.

According to a study by litter prevention organisation Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB), McDonalds packaging accounted for 17.7% of discarded trash found in the state.

Next in line on the rubbish list was Coca-Cola at 8.6% followed by Cadbury, XXXX, Surfside Bus and Ice Break.

Anti-litter advocate Wayne Williams said he was not surprised by the results of the study as fast food packaging was a common litter item.

As president of the Jamboree Residents Association, Mr Williams said his community group had long been part of a roadside litter program called Adopt-a-Spot.

The KAB project involves volunteers undertaking coordinated clean-ups of designated sites in their communities.

"Our group maintains a bikeway that runs from Centenary Bridge to Sumner Rd," Mr Williams said.

"And as you near areas where fast food outlets are located, the build up of litter definitely increases."

Mr Williams said it was not necessarily the fast food company's fault, but the mentality of its consumers that had to change.

"McDonalds was probably identified as the most littered brand because it has such a high amount of outlets in the state," he said.

"The problem is, when many customers finish their burger half an hour later, they just toss the packaging on the ground or throw it out of their car window.

"A lot of people seem to have this 'as long as no one is watching me litter I can get away with it' mentality which is very disappointing."

Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland CEO, Rick Burnett, said the annual study was "helpful" in focussing on where Queensland's litter problem started.

"It is very concerning that two of the world's leading food and beverage brands create the source of most litter in our society," he said.

"It means they are duty bound to do more to educate and influence their customers.

"Fast food is an ever growing part of modern society and the packaging producers need to be more pro-active in stopping this litter stream."

Mr Burnett also said litterers needed reminding and shaming for their thoughtless, lazy and environmentally damaging behaviour.

A spokeswoman for McDonalds said the company was doing everything it could to ensure customers disposed their litter correctly.

"For example we use packaging, car park signage and restaurant tray mats to remind customers not to litter," she said.

"Rubbish bins are also available on site and emptied regularly."

In addition the spokeswoman said the company had launched a Clean Streets Program in each one of its restaurants.

"Which is designed to neep areas within 100m of our restaurants litter-free," she said.

"McDonalds is also the founding partner of Clean Up Australia Day (Sunday, March 3) and for 24 years has helped clean up sites across the nation."



Most common branded litter QLD



McDonald's (17.7%)


Coco Cola (8.6%)


Cadbury (4.0%)


XXXX (3.4%)


Surfside Bus (3.1%)


Ice Break (3.0%)


Nestle (2.9%)

Topics:  clean up australia day litter mcdonald's

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