New Tool: ProSource
Check out our packaging and processing solutions finder, ProSource.

Hedgehog-proof cups

In the U.K. and now in Germany, hedgehogs have an enemy-turned-friend in the Golden Arches.

Pw 7264 5 Nl Pi Rl Wraphedge
The MSNBC Web site published a blog just last month about an unusual initiative launched by McDonald's in Germany: The fast-food chain redesigned its McFlurry ice cream treat containers to make them hedgehog-friendly.

Hedgehogs are spiny mammals native to certain regions east of the Atlantic Ocean including Germany, where apparently these cute creatures are quite beloved.

McDonald's redesign included several different lid sizes and cover flaps that could prevent hedgehogs and other small animals from getting stuck inside the containers and, as a result, starving to death. One report had referred to the offending cups as "McFurry's."

"There were no solid statistics on hedgehog deaths caused by McFlurry lids," said Alexander Schramm, a McDonald's spokesman in Munich. "But, because our company had confronted the same problem in the U.K. in 2006 and had already changed the product line, we decided to do the same in Germany."

While this sounds all well and good—and it is—a sidenote is that BUND, one of Germany’s largest environmental groups, had contacted McDonald's two years earlier to make this change.

I'm not sure it has been emphasized in the news reports that consumers are ultimately culpable for the more than 100 hedgehog deaths in Germany that BUND reported. If the cups/lids had been properly discarded in the first place, then there wouldn't have been packaging available to harm hedgehogs or any other creatures.

As one respondent to the MSNBC blog stated, "Maybe if people would discard their trash in a receptacle instead of on the ground, this wouldn't be a problem."

I couldn't agree more: Properly dispose of your trash or keep it in your car.

But as I've seen here in the U.S., roadsides have become increasingly a dumping ground, compelling civic groups to sponsor sections of our roadways to try and keep them presentable. Based on what I've witnessed from fellow motorists, maybe we need to bring back something akin to that "Keep America Beautiful" campaign from 1971 with the lasting impression of Iron Eyes Cody's tear.

Still, there's a happy ending in this tale for hedgehogs and hedgehog enthusiasts or anyone who doesn't want to see improperly discarded packaging turned into an animal's deathtrap.

Discover Our Content Hub
Access Packaging World's free educational content library!
Read More
Discover Our Content Hub
New ebook focused on cartoning equipment
Read about the various types of cartoning equipment, how to select the right one, and common pitfalls to avoid. Plus, read equipment advice from CPGs for ultimate cartoning success.
Read More
New ebook focused on cartoning equipment