McDouble Trouble

Introduction 

McDonald’s is the world’s largest fast-food restaurant chain. The enamored restaurant chain feeds 68 million people every day and makes 75 million US dollars each day. This corporate giant alone has one of the largest cultural, political, economic, and environmental impacts of any company in history. Their influence is one of the strongest in many aspects and life and can change lifestyles globally. However, their track record is far from unsoiled.

The Problem

As one of the world’s largest purchasers of beef, McDonalds uses over 350,000 cattle a year. Its menus are rooted in the suffering and slaughter of millions of animals. The majority of them are intensively farmed, with little access to fresh air or sunlight, as well as little freedom of movement in tight quarters. Needless to say, the quality of life for these animals is atrocious. Along with this, the raising of such farms is labor-intensive and is environmentally costly. A problem that is surprisingly an issue with cattle is the  large amount of farts released by cows into the atmosphere. Farts produce methane, a chemical that is “80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere” (Methane: A Crucial Opportunity in the Climate Fight) is a major contributor to the global warming crisis. McDonald’s receives their meat from privatized farms. Within these privatized farms, their practices include many unethical ones because they are not held responsible for their accountability. These farms are major contributors to the deforestation of large jungles and forests that displace many forms of wildlife all for creating cattle farms. The destruction of rainforests is used to grow grain for the large livestock and poultry demand globally. Soybean farms, which are the cheapest way of feeding poultry, are also a contributor to mass deforestation and a major contributor to greenhouse gasses. This increasing demand only incentivizes them to continue to keep up with demand and increase their profits. 

Mcdonalds promise

 The good news is that Mcdonald’s is taking some sort of accountability. On their website, they have updated their plans for a more sustainable future. Among the many promises, important ones the company plans on fulfilling are: 

  • Packaging and waste

There is a lot of waste that is created from a single order. Just think of the wrapper, cup, lid, straw, napkin, bag, etc. it takes to serve one person. A lot of the packaging is unnecessary.

  • Sustainable Agriculture & Beef

There is no real way of sustaining beef. McDonald’s must find new ways of serving food with different ingredients to move towards a greener future. A good way would be to implement plant-based options and their agriculture needs to be restructured to successfully serve their promise of eliminating deforestation.

  • Water Stewardship

          Too much water is sacrificed for the convenience of quickly watering plants.

“Where McDonald’s goes, usually the rest of the restaurant industry eventually follows,” said Sara Senatore, a senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., who focuses on the restaurant industry. “It’s hard for other companies not to follow suit eventually” (Washington Post, 2021) .

On their website, the plan overall is to move towards a much more “sustainable future” by 2030. On the surface, this seems like a good thing, but it is not enough. These promises should realistically be placed in effect immediately, but they are not. As a company, they are more worried about their image and that is the issue. A great benefit to McDonalds promise is that other large fast-food chains will see this and follow suit.It is how other companies get good press and remain competitive, so it is overall not the worst problem to have.

What you can do 

There is no doubt that McDonalds number one  priority is to line their pockets with as much money as possible, but by continuing to pressure them and making decisions on the individual level, people will be able to have a positive effect on the environment. McDonalds ,of course, is not alone in this problem and all of the restaurant industry should be held accountable. One of the best ways to combat this is to eat home-cooked meals. Besides all the great environmental impacts meals cooked at home can have, your health will also substantially improve. 

“It takes seven kilocalories of energy to produce food, but processing, packaging, and transporting it takes another ten. In plain language, that means it takes more than double the amount of energy to process food than it does to grow it”(Forbes, 2012). 

As a society, we should take strides to also improve our lifestyles. There is extensive research that has revealed the multitude of evidence that advocates for cooking at home. Why wouldn’t anyone want to increase their quality of life? Making meals at home allows you to acquire sustainable foods, waste less food, use less energy, and it also has a lower environmental effect. The best way to implement this lifestyle is to try incorporating a plant-based diet. McDonalds is just one of the many dynastic food chains that need to be held accountable for their actions, thus stay out of the McTrouble!

Sources:

Siegel, Rachel. “McDonald’s Announces Major Environmental Goals for 2030, Sending a Signal to the Restaurant Industry.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 Mar. 2019, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/03/21/mcdonalds-announces-green-initiatives-for-2030-and-sends-a-signal-to-the-restaurant-industry/.  

“If McDonald’s Is Serious about Reducing Its Carbon Footprint, It May Need to Rethink the Hamburger.” The Counter, 14 Jan. 2020, thecounter.org/mcdonalds-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction-pledge-beef/. 

What’s Wrong with McDonald’s?, http://www.mcspotlight.org/campaigns/translations/trans_uk.html. 

https://corporate.mcdonalds.com/corpmcd/our-purpose-and-impact/our-planet.html

“40 Interesting Facts about McDonald’s.” Serious Facts, 24 July 2020, http://www.seriousfacts.com/mcdonalds-facts/. 

“Methane: A Crucial Opportunity in the Climate Fight.” Environmental Defense Fund, http://www.edf.org/climate/methane-crucial-opportunity-climate-fight. 

Hoffman, Beth. “What’s So Great About Cooking? Four Reasons (and Resources) to DIY.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Aug. 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2012/06/18/whats-so-great-about-cooking-four-reasons-and-resources-to-diy/?sh=678d58a35756. 

5 Sustainable Jewelry Shops

The fast-fashion industry has millions of consumers that buy poorly made trendy jewelry that will be thrown out after a few wears. Not only does this waste resources, but it exposes producers to toxic materials. New movements have increasingly focused on sustainability in many different industries. These new movements have raised questions about how the environment is impacted by fast fashion. 

1. Ana Luisa

Ana Luisa is a new company, founded in 2019. Their collections are released in small and limited batches each Friday to ensure the highest production standards and eliminate excess waste. Ana Luisa was founded to bring clarity to the jewelry industry. 

2. 31 Bits

31 Bits was founded in 2008 when a group of college students became aware of single mothers in Uganda. This company works with artisans in Uganda to make high-quality jewelry. 31 Bits employs women and cares for its workers by offering numerous amenities. Anything this jewelry brand does is funded by their product sales, which means any purchases impacts women in Uganda 

3. Aurate

Aurate was founded in 2015 in New York City. Its jewelry is inspired by everything from the Brooklyn Bridge to doorknobs. Sustainability and ethics play a major role in its philosophy. Aurate uses ethically sourced and sustainably made metals and gems.

4. Catbird

Catbird was founded in 2004, in New York City. Catbird has its own line of jewelry that’s made in Catbird’s Brooklyn studio with ethically sourced diamonds. It also became famous for its permanent jewelry, which became a trend.

5. Mejuri 

Mejuri was founded in 1953 and is one of the better-known jewelry companies. It has a focus on everyday jewelry, as opposed to the things you usually only wear on special occasions. Mejuri is also known for ditching traditional markups, and the brand uses ethically sourced diamonds and cultured pearls.

5 Sustainable Online Stores

Trying to shop sustainably online can be very difficult. It’s hard to tell if an online shop will have eco-friendly shipping procedures, if they are true to their word, or most importantly if they are a scam. These are our favorite sustainable shops where you can get almost all of your day-to-day needs. All the shops are dedicated to reducing the amount of excessive plastic in shipping and throughout their products. 

*It’s important to note that you should please use up all the products you have already at your home before purchasing sustainable products. If you throw away items that could still be used it actually creates more waste. 

1. Package Free

Package Free is a great option for anyone getting started on the journey towards sustainable living. They have premade zero-waste kits to help make your transition easier. The website is conveniently laid out and all of their products adhere to the “Package Free Standard”. This standard means that all their products ship plastic-free, are carbon-neutral, and give back to the environmental protection community. 

2. Public Goods

If you are looking for a very inexpensive option, look no further than Public Goods. With a membership price of $59, you have access to a wide variety of sustainable products. For every new member, Public Goods plant a tree and sell tree-free products. While they do sell products that are in plastic, the plastic is BioPlastic (which is made from sugarcane) and those same constraints are reusable and refillable. Not to mention, they donate extra inventory to different charities instead of throwing it all away. 

3. Eco Roots

Eco Roots is another great option for all of your household essentials. All of their products are plastic-free and completely recyclable. Their shipping is plastic-free and in 100% recyclable material. For every sale made, a portion of it is donated to the Ocean Conservancy Project which helps keep our oceans clean and healthy.

4. Earth Easy

For all of your gardening and composting needs, look no further than Earth Easy. They have a huge variety of gardening tools, as well as tons of other products. For each order made, Earth Easy plants a tree. In addition, they have their carbon emissions balanced by a company called TerraPass, and they have partnered with the EPA Watersense to promote water conservation. Even their office is eco-friendly, as it’s completely paper-free, energy-efficient has compost food leftovers, and reuses shipping boxes when possible. 

5. Earth Hero

Earth Hero has a wider variety than some non-sustainable stores. Options range from cleaning supplies to pet supplies, and even tech products. They are B CORP certified, meaning that they have met the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. They are completely carbon neutral through Carbonfund.org, annually donate 1% of their sales towards sustainability initiatives and organizations, and have offices that are completely zero waste.