McDonald's helps Birmingham spring clean efforts

By on 22/03/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

Over 100 crew members from McDonald's restaurants across the West Midlands have joined forces with Birmingham City Council to tackle litter blighting one area of the city.

The restaurant chain’s 'tidy team' contributed more than 300 hours in total of their time, equating to the amount of time McDonald's invests in clearing litter every day across the West Midlands.

On March 20, the 'tidy team' embarked on a large scale litter challenge along a stretch of the A45 (the Small Heath Highway), the main route into the city from Birmingham Airport - one that thousands of people travel along every day.

Every McDonald's restaurant across the region - 94 in total - contributed to the litter event by putting forward at least one crew member. The 130 people strong tidy team, made up of over 100 crew members and supported by staff from Birmingham City Council, spent three hours each of their time to tidy the area.

In a bid to encourage the community to take responsibility for keeping their neighbourhood litter-free and take pride in their local environment, the team donned high visibility jackets and armed themselves with litter pickers. In total they collected 203 bags of litter, which included a full size mirror, a car bumper and a box of cabbages.

Martin Braham, local McDonald's Franchisee said: “For many visitors to Birmingham, the A45 is their main route into the city and the first area they see, so it's important we take pride in it and keep it clear of litter. We really wanted to make a statement that litter dropping is not acceptable and that it's everyone's responsibility, so it was truly inspiring to see so many members of staff take part in the event. Getting every restaurant in the West Midlands involved is no mean feat, but everyone embraced the challenge and really got behind the cause!

“I'd like to thank every member of staff and Birmingham City Council for getting involved and for all their hard work on the day. They set a great example of what can be achieved if people pull together. It's vital that we all do our bit to tackle the issue – everyone from local businesses like mine, to the residents of Birmingham should make a commitment to helping protect the local environment.”

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City at Birmingham City Council commented on the importance of local people working together and getting involved in events like these to tackle the litter problems in their city.

He added: “This event by McDonald's is hugely encouraging - it shows that big businesses operating in Birmingham can do their bit to help improve the community in which they operate. I hope this sets an example that inspires other organisations to work with the council on schemes and projects that benefit local people in a significant way.”

Now in its third year, this event was just one of hundreds of McDonald's clean-up events taking place across the country in 2013 as part of Keep Britain Tidy's anti-littering campaign, 'Love Where You Live'. The campaign encourages the public to take action and help reduce the amount of litter in their local area and across England by 2020.

Phil Barton, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy said: “It's so important for local businesses and the community to take action by not only clearing unsightly litter, but also raising awareness of the anti-littering message. This event in Birmingham sets a great example of what can be achieved when people work together to take pride in their local area. The sheer scale of the event will no doubt help spread the anti-littering message to members of the community, encouraging them to get take pride in their city.”

Aside from larger litter events such as these, staff at all the Birmingham restaurants patrol the streets at least three times a day to collect all litter that has been discarded, regardless of its origin. McDonald's was the first restaurant to introduce 'Litter Patrols' in the UK.


An image can be downloaded for media use from the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed.

For more information please contact:

Jenny Bowers on 020 7025 6444
Kris Kowalewski at Birmingham City Council on 0121 303 3621

Notes to editors

McDonald's has been working hard since 1982 to reduce the amount of litter on Britain's streets and was the first restaurant to introduce 'Litter Patrols' in the UK.  McDonald's employees already undertake three litter patrols every day in Street, collecting any litter they see in and around restaurants.

To help reduce the amount of litter McDonald's produces, the minimum packaging possible is used when serving food. As well as this McDonald's aims to reduce all restaurant waste and increase the amount that can be recycled. Cardboard is collected from 90% of restaurants for recycling, removing around 10,000 tonnes of cardboard per year from landfill. Used cooking oil is also sent for conversion into biodiesel from all 1,200 restaurants across the UK. Biodiesel now powers more than 50% of McDonald's distribution fleet.

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  1. Andy Mabbett says:

    Would “the litter problems” in Birmingham that Cllr McKay wants the community to tackle include the debris from the mass balloon release, held last weekend by the Birmingham St Patricks parade, and promoted by the City Council on its website? Or does the fact that that litter was scattered far and wide mean the council doesn’t care about it?

    The coucnil’s deputy leader said that the balloons were biodegradable – but so are the carrier bags, newspapers and fast food remains littering our streets, parks and gardens.

    I’m having difficulty getting anyone at the council to explain to me the contradiction between its promotion of an event including such littering, and its anti-litter and environmental protection roles. Perhaps you might do so in response to this comment? Or, better, undertake not to promote further balloon releases – which are not only opposed by Keep Britain Tidy, but the RSPCA, RSPB, National Farmers’ Union, Wildlife Trusts, West Midland Bird Club and many more.