McDonald’s and Starbucks are usually duking it out at the top of the list of popular fast-food chains. But in a surprising move, the two companies are joining forces for the sake of the planet. A press release states today that “The NextGen Cup Consortium and Challenge, convened by Closed Loop Partners, announces that McDonald’s joins Starbucks as a founding member of the group joining together to develop a global recyclable and/or compostable cup solution.”
McDonald’s is chipping in $5 million toward the Challenge, which kicks off in September and “invites innovators, entrepreneurs, industry experts, and recyclers to submit their ideas for the next generation of recyclable and/or compostable cups.” So far, the Challenge has received more than 1,000 inquiries from individuals and organizations ready to submit their ideas.
Fortune points out that together, the two companies are responsible for 4 percent of the world’s 600 billion cups annually. While their cups are currently recyclable, “they seldom are due to practical matters related to recycling infrastructure around the country.” Spokespeople from both sides expressed their enthusiasm for the project:
“We are proud to come together with industry partners like McDonald’s to drive innovative, scalable solutions for cup waste,” said Colleen Chapman, vice president of Global Social Impact focused on sustainability for Starbucks. “A better cup will benefit the entire industry and we invite others to join us as we move these efforts forward.”
“McDonald’s is committed to using our scale for good to make positive changes that impact our planet and the communities we serve,” said Marion Gross, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer, McDonald’s USA. “We are excited to join Starbucks and Closed Loop to help solve this pressing challenge as collaboration is key to finding a scalable, lasting global solution.”
The Challenge will kick off by focusing on the fiber-based hot and cold cup, apparently “the most significant challenge faced by the industry.”
In a usually cutthroat marketing world, it’s nice to see big corporations playing nice and coming together for the good of the globe. Maybe something to think about, snarky Wendy’s Twitter account.