As soon as you open the door at the Williamston McDonalds on West Grand River Avenue you are greeted with the sound of constant timers going off, the aroma of salty fries, and once at the front of the line you are asked “May I take your order?”
McDonald’s has been serving up burgers and fries since 1954 becoming one of the premiere fast food restaurants in the world. With approximately 36,000 restaurants in over 100 countries McDonald’s has become a something that people see everyday from restaurants to commercials.
“I have traveled to countries outside of the United States and a constant everywhere I go is McDonalds,” said Williamston resident Alex Johnson.
With all of these golden arches over the world the carbon footprint McDonald’s produces is massive, but they are now deciding to try and minimize it by making a bigger impact when it comes to climate change.
On January 16th, the fast food juggernaut announced a new initiative that will plan on reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by their restaurants and offices.
The company believes the effect of this would be close to planting 3.8 billion trees and growing them for 10 years.
“To create a better future for our planet, we must all get involved,” said President and CEO of McDonald’s Steve Easterbrook in a public address on their website. “McDonald’s is doing its part by setting this ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address the challenge of global climate change. To meet this goal, we will source our food responsibly, promote renewable energy and use it efficiently, and reduce waste and increase recycling.”
The plan will be in full effect in 2030 and expects to prevent 150 million metric tons of C02 equivalents from being released into the atmosphere.
What the company is planning on doing in order to reach these goals is by replacing old equipment with new more efficient technology. The changes include LED lighting, energy efficient kitchen equipment, sustainable packaging, restaurant recycling, and by elevating and supporting sustainable agriculture practices.
Customers at the Williamston McDonald’s are happy to see a big change coming from the golden arches.
“That is great to hear from a massive company like McDonald’s,” said Williamston resident Ali Wright. “So many people come here to eat because everyone is always so busy and now knowing that they are doing their part in helping the planet makes me feel better about the company.”
Some even believe that the change will help them gain even more customers.
“People will see them being greener and not feel guilty when eating here,” said Johnson. “They could get even more customers if that’s even possible.”
Another positive that has been brought up from this campaign has been how it will influence other fast food restaurants. Forbes magazine believe that other companies like Wendy’s and Burger King will follow in McDonald’s footsteps because this plan is both good for business and the planet.
“McDonald’s in my opinion is obviously the biggest and most successful fast food restaurant,” said former McDonald’s employee Kyle Watson. “The other fast food places are going to see the positive response McDonald’s got and try and replicate the same thing, which in the long run will really help the planet.”
But regardless if you are not a fan of their food, the environmental impact that will be felt by the planet from this initiative will massive.
“Our planet is hurting right now,” said Watson. “But with companies taking a stronger stance on climate change I really believe we can make a positive impact that will be felt for generations.”