Can You Recycle McDonald’s Packaging? (Lids, Straws, Boxes + More)

Wrappers and various items from fast-food restaurants are often thrown out in the trash or sitting on the side of the roadways, but did you know some packaging can be recycled?

If you’ve been curious as to whether you can recycle McDonald’s packaging, read on because we have some surprising answers for you!

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Packaging?

You can recycle some of McDonald’s packaging, including paper cups, bags, food boxes, drink holders, and toys. However, you cannot recycle plastic lids, old plastic toys, or plastic McFlurry straws. Additionally, if the McDonald’s packaging still contains food or has grease on it, then it is recommended to throw it in the standard waste bin.

Keep reading because we’ll tell you all the details about McDonald’s toys, straws, and more, and how you can go about recycling these items!

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Paper Cups?

McDonald’s paper cups can be recycled and put into almost any recycling bin as long as the cups have been washed out and dried so that no coffee or soda is stuck in the cup.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Plastic Cups?

In most situations, you can recycle the plastic cups that McDonald’s uses, although it does depend on the city and the recycling company that you use.

However, in any situation, the plastic cups must be cleaned out and free of any liquid for them to be recycled.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Boxes?

You can recycle the McDonald’s boxes that your food comes in as long as it’s not covered in grease and there is no food stuck to the box, such as cheese or pieces of hamburger.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Toys?

McDonald’s toys aren’t typically recyclable, but McDonald’s is doing away with the plastic it uses for most toys and will use corn and other materials for their toys and packaging.

Furthermore, in France, plastic toys have already been removed and replaced with paper trading cards and paper coloring items.

Those paper-based toys can be recycled as long as there is no food contamination on them, so if you’re in France, you can recycle those toys.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Straws?

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Straws?

McDonald’s admitted that you cannot recycle the new paper straws that are found in some restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland, but the old plastic straws are recyclable. 

Additionally, the company replaced the old plastic straws in thousands of restaurants with the new paper straws to help the environment, but they ended up being too thick to be recycled properly.

So the recyclability of the straws depends on which one is at the location you’re getting your McDonald’s food from and where you’re located.

The good news is that McDonald’s is moving towards more sustainable solutions, so hopefully, McDonald’s will keep working on the straw situation and find the perfect thickness for the straws.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Bags?

You can recycle McDonald’s bags, with them being made from fiber-based material, however, all food and liquid need to be cleared out of the bag before you recycle it.

On top of that, McDonald’s bags are now being made from recycled materials, so it’s a continuous cycle to move towards more sustainable packaging.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Lids?

Unfortunately, the lids that are on the McDonald’s cups are not recyclable, although you can reuse them at home just fine and get several more uses out of them.

Once you’re done with the lid, it should be thrown into the regular trash and not put into the plastics recycling bin or anywhere else that holds recycling.

However, McDonald’s has been looking into changing the lids so that they are made from a fiber material, and if that change happens in the future, those fiber-based lids will be recyclable.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s McFlurry Spoons?

You cannot recycle the McDonald’s McFlurry spoons if they are the plastic kind and should just be thrown away in the trash after you’ve consumed the McFlurry.

However, McDonald’s has been moving towards using wooden spoons, such as they did in the Netherlands, which are recyclable and won’t end up in the landfill like plastic spoons.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Napkins?

You should never recycle napkins from any restaurant or even your own home, so McDonald’s napkins should be thrown away and not placed in recycling containers.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Sauce Containers?

Unfortunately, you cannot recycle the sauce containers that McDonald’s uses since they contain chemicals and sauce ingredients.

Any item that has residue in it from condiments or sauces cannot be recycled and could contaminate the entire recycle bin, so just throw them away in the trash can.

However, it can be washed out at home and reused for your personal needs, which is a great way to help conserve plastics being thrown in the trash, and it’ll come in handy in the kitchen!

Are McDonald’s French Fry Cartons Recyclable?

You cannot recycle the McDonald’s French Fry cartons since they’ve held greasy fries, and grease-soiled items cannot be recycled or washed out.

Further, if you try to recycle these containers, you’re going to just end up ruining the items in the recycle bin, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Can You Recycle McDonald’s Hash Brown Carton?

Unfortunately, just like with the French Fries, the hash brown cartons contain grease all over the inside, and this cannot be recycled or cleaned out enough to be considered free of grease.

Any item that contains grease or food components cannot be recycled, and since grease is absorbed into the carton, there is no way to remove it from the box.

To find out more about McDonald’s, you can also see our posts if you can buy McDonald’s toys, where to buy McDonald’s gift cards, and how to get free stuff at McDonald’s.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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