According to Business Insider Australia, McDonald’s is currently building its 1000th franchise in Australia, a ‘sustainability flagship’ joint that will utilise solar energy to cover 100% of its energy needs.
McDonald’s, or Macca’s, as we prefer to call it, arrived on Australian shores in 1971 and spread like the British. Indeed, a bit like the “Good puzzle” James Joyce proposes in Ulysses – the attempt to “cross Dublin without passing a pub,” the traveller of Australia’s open roads would be hard-pressed to go anywhere without passing under Macca’s Golden Arches. In Australia, the Golden Arches is as ubiquitous as the arched bounce of the kangaroo, and to our shame, just as celebrated.
However, finally, on the opening of Macca’s 1000th store there is something worth celebrating, a ‘sustainable flagship’ site in Victoria’s Melton South that could become a model for fast-food restaurants throughout the country.
“As our first sustainability flagship,” said McDonald’s Australia, Senior Director of Development, Josh Bannister, “the Melton South restaurant will play a vital role in allowing us to continue to test, evaluate and implement industry-leading sustainable innovations.”
The Melton South site will also implement a host of other sustainable practices, including the use of recycled material in construction and fibre-based cutlery, stirrers and straws, begging the question – who is using cutlery at Macca’s? Next thing they’ll tell us they’re using recycled paper for the wine list.
The Melton South site is not the first Macca’s site to install solar panels, but it is one of the rare few. Victoria’s Kilsyth franchise took advantage of a 12 kW system back in 2012, and new build Distribution Centres are now mandated to contain large-scale solar installs.
However, considering Macca’s is generally sought as an oasis of air conditioning from the black hot tarmac, there is really little excuse as to why the other 998 sites are not solar powered too. Fast-food may not sustain us, but that doesn’t mean the litany of fast-food chains littering the country can’t be sustainable in themselves.