McDonald’s opens pioneer net-zero fast-food restaurant

As net-zero becomes a prime focus for large corporations, McDonald’s has opened a new restaurant that will become its sustainability blueprint

We can see how far construction and renewable energy have come through various means, but the latest McDonald’s branch amalgamates the two perfectly and represents the UK’s capabilities sustainable building design and net-zero construction methods. 

The global fast-food chain opened its first carbon-neutral restaurant, which leverages various technologies and innovations, making it a blueprint for further branches. 

McDonald’s showcases sustainable innovation in the UK

The branch, constructed in Market Drayton, Shropshire, was designed for net-zero construction as well as everyday operation and is one of the industry’s first branches to do so. While the building looks very similar to the company’s existing branches, its adaptations provide certainty for the company as it looks to decarbonise all of its 1,400 restaurants and offices by 2030. 

The Shropshire-based restaurant is not just net-zero in function, but also its design: 

  • The ‘Kerb stones’ for the project are made from 182 recycled bottles, which reduce carbon emissions by 25kg per stone compared to the conventional concrete material
  • The walls are insulated will British sheep’s wool that could have been sent to landfill, but will now replace man-made materials
  • Cladding is made from recycled IT equipment and white goods like washing machines 
  • Wall signage is made with used coffee beans to support a circular economy
  • The Drive-Thru lane was made using recycled tyres, allowing more water absorption and minimal carbon emissions
  • Natural areas such as a nature trail and biodiversity gardens allow more rainwater collecting and create a natural environment for creatures
  • The most prominent feature of the building, the two wind turbines and 92 square metres of solar panels that produce an annual total of 60,000kWh of energy.

Finishing the design with net-zero materials

‘At McDonald’s, we believe that our food needs to be served in restaurants that are sustainable for the future’, said Beth Hart, Vice President Supply Chain and Brand Trust at McDonald’s. ‘Market Drayton is a big step towards making that a reality, enabling us to test and put into practice what a net-zero emissions building, both in build and use, really looks like. We’ve already started to roll out some of these innovations to other restaurants, but what is exciting about Market Drayton is the fact it will act as a blueprint for our future new builds’. 

Beyond the performance and design of the building, McDonald’s is also furnishing the restaurant with used materials, such as wall art made from polystyrene cups while using potato starch to fix them in place. The furniture is made of 100% recycled materials and customers are able to charge electric vehicles (EV) while they visit the restaurant. 

Simon McWhirter, UKGBC’s Director of Communications, Policy & Places said, ‘The challenge of decarbonising the construction industry is a complex one, but McDonald’s commitment to building the first restaurant in the UK in line with UKGBC’s net-zero carbon buildings framework is a critical first step. We welcome the ambition to achieve net-zero emissions for all McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 2030’. 

For more sustainability insights, check out the latest issue of Sustainability Magazine.

image source


Featured Articles

Kelly Manthey – leading by example as a B Corp Group CEO

Kelly Manthey, CEO of digital transformation company Kin + Carta, shares her journey from first employee to Group CEO in a tech industry dominated by men

Nico Rosberg – from F1 champion to green tech evangelist

Former Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg is founder of the Greentech Festival and Rosberg x Racing, a team driven to inspire positive change

Be a better business by becoming B Corp

Becoming a B Corp may not be right for every organisation, but for many it is proving a successful way to grow their business and attract top talent

Sustainability is a universal problem, on earth and in space


Quanta announces release of annual Sustainability Report

Supply Chain Sustainability

Racing to a sustainable future in the world of sport