Restaurant 1000 heralds McDonald's Australia's sustainable future

Monday, 14 December, 2020

Restaurant 1000 heralds McDonald's Australia's sustainable future

McDonald’s Australia has heralded a new era of sustainability by opening its 1000th restaurant as the company’s sustainability flagship for Australia.

As part of the project, WaterGroup has deployed its smart water metering solution into the flagship restaurant, forming one of 25 core sustainability initiatives the restaurant is using to reduce its environmental impact with the aim to test, evaluate and implement industry-leading sustainability innovations into the future.

“At WaterGroup, saving water for our customers is our top priority. We are so proud to assist McDonald’s with our state-of-the-art technology to achieve real savings,” WaterGroup Managing Director Guenter Hauber-Davidson said.

“Leaking pipes, leaky toilets, fixtures, valves or sprinklers are some of the typical causes of abnormally high water use. With our solution in place, the Melton South restaurant can quickly identify when these occur to save water and money.”

McDonald’s Australia National Director of Development Diana Grosmann said, “As a sustainability innovation hub, Restaurant 1000 will play a crucial role in enabling us to continue to design and build commercially practical sustainability solutions into every new Macca’s restaurant in the years to come.”

McDonald’s Australia Director of Supply Chain and Sustainability Kylie Freeland added, “Through collaboration with the franchisee of the restaurant, as well as partners like WaterGroup, we hope that Restaurant 1000 will allow us to learn quickly and expand successful innovation trials that enable us to continue to implement practices, equipment and products to improve our environmental impact.”

WaterGroup’s smart water metering solution comprises a smart NB-IoT-enabled logger that connects to a site’s existing water meter. The data from that meter is then sent to the cloud and is accessible via a client-facing portal. At Melton South they also have WaterGroup’s AWARE service, where the WaterGroup team monitor and alert the restaurant of unusual water usage turning insights into action.

During the 2019 financial year, WaterGroup has delivered measurable outcomes for its clients with water savings of almost 300 million litres and cost savings of more than $1 million.

“We wish the McDonald’s South Melton team great success with their new restaurant and look forward to saving them water and money,” Hauber-Davidson said.

Other sustainability initiatives

Restaurant 1000 customers will be served a series of new packaging items including paper straws, wooden cutlery and paper sundae cups, as McDonald’s Australia continues to phase out all plastic straws and plastic cutlery from its restaurants nationwide. The collective impact of these transitions will remove 860 tonnes of plastic from the McDonald’s system.

The restaurant will also incorporate energy-efficient air-conditioning systems, hydrocarbon equipment and a building monitoring system to help collectively reduce carbon emissions and energy used.

“Over the coming three years we plan to invest more than $500 million to open over 80 new restaurants across Australia, incorporating a range of core sustainability elements from Restaurant 1000, including PlayPlaces made with recycled content and energy-efficient equipment, as well as the use of 100% renewable energy at some restaurants.

“Through partnership with the franchisee of the restaurant, Ben Westover, we hope Restaurant 1000 will allow us to learn quickly and expand successful innovation trials, so we can continue to implement practices, equipment and products to improve our environmental impact,” Grosmann said.

In early 2021, Restaurant 1000 will commence trialling a front-of-house waste recycling system, as the business moves towards achieving its goal of diverting front-of-house waste from landfill. The trial will see front-of-house waste from Restaurant 1000 recycled into carry out bags and wraps packaging.

Full list of sustainability initiatives implemented at Restaurant 1000

  • Building infrastructure and furnishings incorporating recycled content and natural aggregates.
  • With the help of Energy Australia, Restaurant 1000 will be powered entirely by renewable energy.
  • On-site solar panels installed on a custom roof structure over the drive-thru. The entire solar system at the restaurant is expected to generate 42,000 kWh per year.
  • Families will be able to introduce their children to recycling via a specially designed Happy Meal toy collection bin. Through our reverse logistics system, pre-loved Happy Meal toys will be returned to our distributor before being provided to a third party for recycling.
  • The PlayPlace equipment utilises old play equipment repurposed into new decks, climbers, slide tubes and window panels — 60% of the entire structure is sourced from old Macca’s play equipment, with the remaining 40% of material being 100% recyclable at end of life.
  • Carbon-neutral McDelivery via Uber Eats and DoorDash, where carbon credits will be used to offset the emissions from deliveries made from Restaurant 1000 for 12 months.
  • McDonald’s distributor will act as a consolidation for waste streams such as cardboard, cups, coffee grinds and soft plastics and return these to a central location, creating opportunities for circular economies.
  • All lighting and signage at Restaurant 1000 utilises LEDs, which use around 80% less energy than neon systems, meaning there’s less strain on the environment and electricity grid. LEDs also don’t include any toxic gases and are cleanly recycled.
  • The green wall at the entry to Restaurant 1000’s dining room, full of living plants that increase biodiversity, provides insulation and clean the air.
  • Wheel stops and kerbing throughout the drive-thru and car park are made from recycled cups and plastics. The wheel stops are made only from cups and plastics from McDonald’s restaurants and not only complete the loop for a circular economy, but are more hard-wearing than concrete alternatives.
  • Two electric vehicle charging stations provided by Evie Networks, and supplied by 100% renewable energy.
  • A bulk oil supply system that pumps bulk oil directly from the tanker into a plumbed tank in the restaurant, reducing the cardboard and plastic packaging, which would have previously been delivered each week.
  • Similar to the bulk oil supply system, the restaurant utilises a bulk milk system that will remove the need for approximately 1650 kg of plastic bottles from the restaurant.
  • Strategically placed sensors will monitor the amount of sunlight shining into the restaurant. If it’s a bright day, the sensors will automatically dim the lights in the dining room to conserve energy.
  • Hydrocarbon refrigerant equipment will vastly reduce the carbon footprint of the restaurant due to its low Global Warming Potential and Zero Ozone Depleting Potential.
  • A high-efficiency air-conditioning system that doesn’t generate as much heat and therefore doesn’t force the system to work as hard to cool. This means the air conditioning system is up to 32% more efficient than the minimum BCA-compliant system.
  • Paper straws, wooden cutlery, paper sundae cups and a new type of wrap that can be composted will all be trialled at the restaurant.
  • All irrigation on-site will utilise two 5000 L water tanks that collect and harvest rainwater.
  • Using specialist technology provided by WaterGroup, water usage will be monitored by a cloud-based system that will help to identify any anomalies so any leaks are addressed early.
  • The restaurant will also use a heat recovery hot water system that absorbs heat from the air-conditioning system to heat water. This system is more efficient than conventional water heaters and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • All timber cladding is Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification endorsed.
  • A building-monitoring system will assist McDonald’s to optimise energy use while the restaurant serves customers. Any anomalies in the air conditioning, lighting and refrigeration system will trigger an alert so the restaurant can rectify immediately.
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