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Reconomy and McDonald's demonstrate circular waste solution

22 May 2023

A refurbishment of a McDonald’s restaurant in the North West - with furniture donated to YMCA Together as part of a social value initiative - has provided a new circular template facilitated by Reconomy...

Reconomy is the largest outsourced provider of waste and resource-led services to a broad range of industries. In 2022, it was awarded sole supplier status to help deliver increasingly sustainable environmental excellence and identify circular solutions to minimise waste as part of McDonald’s’ ‘reimaging restaurant refurbishment works programme’.

As part of the project, Reconomy identified a significant re-use opportunity through the surplus-to-requirements furniture from a McDonald’s restaurant in Lymm (Warrington) owned by franchisee Jayne Aspin-Mayne which included stools, chairs, benches, tables, sofas and even the recycling station. Following a period of engagement with nearby organisations in the third sector, an agreement was reached to donate the furniture to Liverpool branch of YMCA Together, removing it as a waste stream and creating a social value opportunity.

The sustainable management of the furniture achieved several social, environmental and commercial benefits. Firstly, the reuse within a community-focused initiative generated £5,500 of social value – activity that has a direct impact on people and the community such as volunteering and spend with social enterprises. Diverting the materials from landfill and preventing them from being wasted, saved 0.4 tonnes of CO2e.

An exciting aspect of the solution is its scalability: the YMCA Together project is now acting as a template for all the work taking place across the UK & ROI as part of McDonald’s annual reimaging store refurbishment works. The partners are also actively involved in trialling circular solutions for other high-volume materials created by the refurbishment works, including Rockfon ceiling tiles and Corian material.

Ben Angove, Sales Director at Reconomy, commented: “Some furniture parts coming out of restaurant refurbishment projects have historically gone to landfill where they cannot be recycled. We identified a social value opportunity to donate these items to registered charities and the project has been a positive experience, harnessing the benefits of the circular economy to support the franchisee and a community youth organisation.” 

Dominic Murphy, Restaurant Manager from the McDonald's Lymm restaurant, said: "We are thrilled to have completed our conversion and even more delighted to have found a sustainable solution for our old furniture and décor items. Donating to charities such as the YMCA Together has been made all the more easier through our partnership with Reconomy and aligns with our commitment to reduce waste. Transforming our restaurant was not just about creating a vibrant space for our customers; it was also an opportunity to embrace sustainability on a larger scale. We are proud to see our old furniture repurposed and given a new lease of life and we are happy to support our local community and do our bit for the environment."

Jason Thomas, Operational Housing Lead at YMCA Together, said: “The ability to receive furniture and repurpose money into other work that we do with the local community has been amazing. Our homeless service in Knowsley, for example, has revitalised its computer area, while the new recycle unit in their communal lounge is supporting residents with recycling opportunities while within our Leeds Street service, we’re hopeful that this lounge can be used for a wide range of activities.”

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