Big Mac to move to new pack

McDonald's reportedly will be packing its Big Mac® sandwiches early next year in a compostable hinged-lid container. Made of limestone, potato starch, water and fibers, the containers are designed to decompose and dissolve in water.

The composite material (see Packaging World, August '98, p. 2) was developed by EarthShell Corp. (Santa Barbara, CA). It will be made, via a baking process that evaporates water, at a 250ꯠ sq' plant in Owings Mills, MD. According to EarthShell, Sweetheart Cup Co. (Owings Mills, MD) "is the first licensee to commercialize the EarthShell composite material technology and has a supply aggreement to produce Big Mac sandwich containers. EarthShell expects the first of three Sweetheart production lines to be completed and in operation by the end of the year, with full production capacity on-line by the end of the first quarter of 1999."

At that time, individual restaurants will be able to purchase the containers. McDonald's now packs Big Macs in microflute corrugated paper clamshells. At press time, McDonald's had not returned phone calls to discuss the new container. However, it's believed that the one-piece container sufficiently keeps the food warm, while also helping to reduce litter.

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