McDonalds blueprint for the fast food restaurants of the future

This isn’t your average McDonald’s – it’s the UK’s first net zero emissions standard restaurant. Located in Market Drayton, the new location which opened in December 2021 is a testing ground for sustainable developments. The learnings here will serve as a blueprint for future new build restaurants and help McDonald’s deliver on their goal of all their restaurants being net zero in both construction and everyday operation by 2030.

Amongst the items that combine to make the restaurant net zero for emissions are two wind turbines and 92sqm of solar panels – producing 60,000 kWhs of power per year and reducing the amount of energy the restaurant draws from the grid.

It includes walls insulated with British sheep’s wool which might otherwise have gone to landfill, and which replaces unsustainable man-made materials.

It also features a biodiversity garden and nature trail designed by schoolchildren from Market Drayton Junior School. The garden will collect rainwater from the car park and provide a habitat for frogs and other creatures.

The building cladding has been created from recycled IT equipment and white household goods like washing machines, while wall signs are made from used McDonald’s coffee beans.

The drive-thru lane has been made from recycled tyres, while kerb stones have been created from recycled plastic bottles.

Other innovations include wall art made from recycled polystyrene cups, fixed in place with potato starch from McDonald’s potatoes, EV charging points and furniture made from 100 per cent recyclable materials.

The firm says it is the next step in its commitment to ensure that by 2023 all furniture in new and refurbished restaurants will be made from recycled or certified materials and designed to be recycled or reused.

It is the first restaurant in the UK due to be verified as net zero emissions for construction using the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC’s) net zero carbon buildings framework. The problems of decarbonising the construction industry were “complex”, but the move by McDonald’s was a “critical first step”, UKGBC spokesman Simon McWhirter said.

McDonald’s spokeswoman Beth Hart said: “We’ve already started to roll out some of these innovations to other restaurants, but what is exciting about Market Drayton is the fact it will act as a blueprint for our future new builds. We believe that our food needs to be served in restaurants that are sustainable for the future. Market Drayton is a big step towards making that a reality.”

Senior lecturer in the environment and sustainability at Keele University, Dr Sharon George, said the move was a “positive step” and a sign that the company was recognising that “society’s view of sustainability” was changing.

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