Burger King UK Is Eliminating Plastic Lids From Its Restaurants

Burger King has more than 500 restaurants operating in the U.K., reports Edinburgh Live, and these locations always seem just a little more progressive and sustainsble than their U.S. counterparts. For instance, the fast food chain's plant-based Impossible Whopper made its premiere in the U.S. in 2019, per CNBC. But it was Burger King U.K. that made the bold declaration that 50% of its restaurant menus would be meatless by 2030, as reported by Business Insider.

So committed is Burger U.K. to plant-based offerings that earlier this year its restaurant in London's Leicester Square went meatless for almost an entire month. As The Guardian observed, diners at the vegan-friendly location were not only treated to the plant-based Whoppers, but a plant-based chicken burger, and plant-based nuggets, too.

It should come as no surprise then, given this progressive spirit, that Burger King U.K. is also at the forefront of the company's efforts to reduce single-use plastics.

What Burger King's new announcement means

Burger King's U.K. account announced via Twitter this week that the country's restaurants would be getting rid of plastic lids in order to help eliminate waste. "It's not the end of the world," the tweet says. "But it might be if we don't."

Single-use plastics like the plastic lids (and cups and straws) found in fast food restaurants are enormously wasteful. Less than 10% of this plastic ever gets recycled, per the BBC. So the announcement by Burger King U.K. is definitely a step in the right direction. In fact, according to Metro, the company is estimating that the new policy will eliminate 17 million lids each year, and prevent over 66,000 pounds of annual waste.

It's important to note, however, that the announcement from Burger King U.K. comes with some important fine print. Per the Twitter announcement, this new edict applies only to the plastic lids used for soft drinks inside Burger King U.K. restaurants. Those ordering coffee or other hot drinks, or that are receiving their drinks via takeout or drive-thru, are exempt from the new policy. But as Metro points out, Burger King has pledged to remove all single-use plastics from its restaurants by 2025, so apparently, there is an expiration date on the fine print.