29th October 1990
Dear Mr Date
Thank you for your letter dated 17th October.
Firstly may I take the opportunity to put your mind at rest about BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).
We have been monitoring this issue very closely and can assure you that all scientific and veterinary advice indicates that there is no evidence to suggest that BSE can be transmitted to humans.
Nevertheless, quality and hygiene have always been paramount at McDonald's and our policy has always been to purchase only prime cuts of forequarter and flank for our hamburger products. Offal has never been nor will ever be used. For your further information I have enclosed our Fact Sheet No 3 which sets out our practices in detail.
At McDonald's we share your concern about the environment. Our philosophy is to reduce, re-use and recycle, and not add to the solid waste stream.
Foam packaging, by its nature cannot be made out of recycled material however, it is recyclable. McDonald1s is currently operating a pilot scheme in four Nottingham restaurants to assess the potential of recycling our foam containers. I have enclosed our Fact Sheet No 5 for your information.
In answer to your questions about landfills I refer to data compiled by Dr William Rathje, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.
His findings indicate that in the average US municipal landfill, packaging of all kinds (paper and foam) from the quick service restaurants industry, not just McDonald's, takes up only one quarter of one percent of the total landfill space. Polystyrene foam packaging is only a fraction of that volume - one seventh of one percent of total waste.
Foam is an especially safe material to put in landfills because it does not create dangerous toxics by biodegrading - it is chemically inert. And while foam appears to be bulky, it is 90% air and compresses easily under the weight of a landfill.
Please be assured that we will continue to adapt our policies and practices as necessary to protect the global environment on which we all depend.