Burger King Is Making New Plant-Based Straws & Eco-Friendly Packaging

This new pilot program alludes to the restaurant company's larger sustainability goals.

Burger King green packaging
Courtesy of Burger King
Courtesy of Burger King

The new and improved Burger King is all about doing its part to save the planet, and its latest endeavor involves testing sustainable packaging for eight of the chain's most-used guest items: forks, spoons, knives, straws, drink lids, Frypods, Whopper wrappers, and napkins.

Burger King's green packaging pilot program will make use of several alternative materials. Frypods (the containers that hold fries) will be made with renewable unbleached virgin paperboard, cutlery will be made with a plant-based plastic, napkins will be made with 100% recycled fiber, and lids will come with both a sipping hole and a straw hole.

If people do choose to use a straw, the company will provide paper or plant-based options, replacing the 500 million single-use plastic straws that are used annually at the pilot program's participating restaurants alone. Keeping that many plastic straws out of landfills is equal to removing 910 metric tons of greenhouse gasses per year or taking 196 vehicles off the streets, according to Burger King.

As far as Whopper wrappers go, the pilot will test two new options, one that uses 13% less paper than previous wrappers and one that uses 34% less paper.

"Sustainable packaging is a cornerstone of our Restaurant Brands for Good journey, and this new pilot represents a huge opportunity for us to make a difference," said Matthew Banton, head of innovation and sustainability at Burger King, in a press release. "We’re optimistic about our progress and are committed to reducing waste to do our part in creating a more sustainable future."

Burger King's green packaging pilot program is launching in 51 Miami restaurants, and when it concludes, the chain will use insights and guest feedback to inform its nationwide sustainable packaging plan.

This new green program is different from Burger King's reusable packaging program that was announced last fall. That is yet to launch, but will soon reach New York, Portland, Tokyo, Paris, and London.

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.