Sustainable Paper-Based Packaging In Action


Yum! China has made strides in the sustainability of its packaging. The teams have reduced the weight of their tray liners and french fries boxes. They have also optimized the structure of their congee cups to reduce the volume transported annually.


KFC Netherlands has shown great intention to sustainable packaging by increasing the amount of certified paper products within their market. The buckets will be labeled as certified product by the summer of 2014. They are also committed to increasing the amount of certified paper products with their clamshells and folding cartons.

United Kingdom: KFC Loses Three Million Pounds of Packaging

KFC UK and Ireland is finding new ways to give customers the high quality they depend on while also reducing its environmental impact. One way is through smart packaging changes, two of which have reduced packaging by more than 1,400 tonnes (3 million pounds) already – roughly the same weight as 111 double-decker buses.

The brand achieved this by switching from cardboard 'clamshells' to paper wrappers for Fillet and Zinger sandwiches and moved its classic chicken meals, the Colonel's Meal and Variety Meal, from cardboard boxes to paper bags.

"Additionally during 2013 we developed ways to reduce bag sizes and remove box liners," said Ian Hagg, Head of CSR, KFC UK&I. "These changes started in February 2014 and will save 125 tonnes (275,000 pounds) of paper per year."

Many of the brand's products and packaging currently use only recycled or recyclable materials, including:

  • The iconic bucket, which can be widely recycled now that it does not have a plastic coating
  • Napkins
  • Krushems cups, which contain 40 to 50 percent recycled materials
  • Mini Fillet Burger wrappers, which is 100 percent recyclable and biodegradable following a change to paper from foil

KFC is now investigating how to make further improvements by changing its use of plastics. "Our ideal is that 100 percent of the various branded plastics in our packing is made from either recycled materials, readily-recyclable or compostable materials," said Hagg. "This is challenging and we're exploring how we can make progress toward it."


KFC U.S. purchased 78% of all new wood fiber products from third-party certified sources. In addition, nearly 25% of all paper packaging was made from recycled content. As part of its effort to move toward renewable paper based resources, KFC has reduced plastic packaging in the KFC U.S. system from 40% to 28% by weight. These efforts represent an undertaking by KFC U.S. to increase the sustainability of the brand's packaging through maximizing recycled content, where allowed, and working to guarantee all fiber products come from third-party certified sources.