McDonald’s is trialling two new sustainable cups, holding its first testing event at the Temple Bar outlet in Dublin city this week.

The Irish restaurant is one of three across Europe selected to test these new environmentally friendly cups.

These cups have the potential to be a more sustainable alternative to those currently being used in the fast food restaurant division.


The testing of the single-use cups involves assessing crew, customer and stakeholder feedback.

The two models being assessed at the event in Dublin included moulded fibre forming technology and a starch based paste.

As the prototypes are part of a global project, they have been sourced from newer, smaller, innovative suppliers from different parts of the world including Asia and the UK.

After the feedback is collected, the two plastic liner alternatives will be taken to larger trials.

McDonald’s will also work on perfecting technical aspects of the cups, such as the manufacturing process.

It will be then be able to improve circularity of 646 million McCafe paper cups used for hot drinks across Europe annually.


The McDonald’s logo on the new cup is the same colour as the cup to reduce the ink coverage.

If the company moves towards a destination and design phase they will begin to engage with a number of suppliers, including the current suppliers, to be able to produce the capacity needed.

Speaking at the event in Dublin this week, sustainability consultant of McDonald’s, Helen McFarlane, said:

” We are aiming to have all our packing sourced from renewable recyclable certified sources by 2025 globally but for UK and Ireland we have set that goal for 2024 [because] we think we can get there quicker”.

On the functionality of the two cups she said, “they all seem absolutely fine, I think as long as their functional and safe, we have to make sure they are all safe first”.

“This is a brilliant day for me seeing these cups without any plastic,” she added.

McFarlane said that the next move will be to get rid of plastic lids by the end of next year by moving to a paper or moulded fibre option.

“We have been doing a lot of testing on these to make sure that they are safe, functional and so that they provide a good drinking experience,” she told Agriland.

Following this, McDonald’s will tackle sauce sachets. McFarlane admitted that this is going to be “quiet tricky”, but they are looking at different solutions.

She added that all of the beef and a lot of the dairy used in the company’s Irish restaurants is sourced from Ireland.

Lettuce is also source from Ireland and the UK, but is imported from other locations during the year due to seasonality.