Tapping into water savings
To gather data around four key areas of water management – irrigation, public and staff amenities, cleaning and beverage services – we conducted water surveys in McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. The findings have helped us and our Franchisees to identify and prioritize water savings and improvement opportunities, and the results have been shared across other restaurants, especially in areas of water stress.
Our U.S. restaurant construction and remodel standards now include low-flow urinals and high-efficiency faucets that use less water. We also encourage the use of native and/or drought-tolerant landscaping, along with storm water management through the use of rain gardens, permeable pavement and rainwater collection and reuse.
No more water down the drain in Switzerland
In Switzerland, we’ve installed Urimat dry urinals in all restaurants. With a special siphon and large-scale float, this system neutralizes odors and helps to save significant amounts of water. In fact, every year McDonald’s saves around 45 million liters of water – that’s the same as 10% of our total freshwater requirement and means savings in water bills too.
Taking the stress out of water stress in Australia
Water scarcity is a real concern in Australia. This means water conservation is an important issue for McDonald’s Australia restaurants. We’ve taken a number of initiatives to reduce water use, such as using rainwater harvesting for irrigation and landscaping. Also, water-efficient fixtures – such as our spray rinse gun – have flows set at optimal levels and trigger mechanisms to reduce water use further. Education is also important. Restaurant managers and crew members all receive training on water use, detailed landscaping guidelines are provided, and external rainwater storage tanks now carry information to guide the public on the importance of water reuse and our commitment to protecting water.
Bringing dead ocean zones to life
We’ve joined the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, a group of large companies and NGOs working together to tackle water challenges like the Gulf hypoxia dead zone, an area of low to no oxygen that can no longer support fish or other marine life. It’s also looking at the factors contributing to climate change by working with growers.
The Collaborative is working initially in three pilot states – Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska – where environmental outcomes will be measured through cross-sector collaboration and continuous improvement. The targets for the group are aligned with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf Hypoxia Task Force.