KFC boosts sustainability efforts in plastics packaging

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Photo by KFC Global

A well-known fast-food restaurant is taking a big step beyond the straw debate with a commitment to make all plastic-based, consumer-facing packaging recoverable or reusable by 2025.

KFC said the decision comes as restaurants in certain markets already are working to eliminate plastics packaging.

The restaurant chain, formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, operates more than 22,000 restaurants in more than 135 countries. That includes about 4,100 locations in the United States.

"KFC is in a position to have a real impact on how the industry approaches waste and packaging management overall," CEO Tony Lowings said in a statement. "With environmental sustainability as a core aspect of how we do business, this commitment represents a public acknowledgment of the obligation we have to address these serious issues."

KFC says it already has a road map toward making the changes that includes working with suppliers to identify plastic alternatives in each market.

The company also will conduct audits of current restaurant systems to hone in on ways to reduce plastic waste.

Plans also include "partnering with suppliers to identify sustainable packaging alternatives for items like straws, plastic bags, cutlery and lids," the company said. Work also will include "market-specific goals to reduce, reuse and recycle."

With thousands of restaurants around the globe, KFC said work will include supporting local sustainability goals to address unique needs in different areas.

KFC is owned by Yum Brands Inc., which also includes owns the food chains Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

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