Gold / Industry

OK, Golden Arches: McDonald’s Netherlands Offers Jewelry From Waste


Jewelry can inspire, motivate, and help you celebrate. But can it teach people how to throw away their trash or recycle responsibly?

That’s the goal of a special waste-themed jewelry promotion now ongoing at McDonald’s Netherlands. Its Litter & Glamor campaign encourages its customers to throw their leftover trash into McDonald’s special promotional waste bins. Any guests that do this through Sept. 12 have a chance to win jewelry made from that litter.

Yes, you read that right. The prizes are jewelry that looks like McDonald’s trash in the shape of everything from an old French fry box to a coffee cup to a classic McDonald’s cup. Its necklace, earrings, ring, and pins come in 14k gold, perfect for wearing when you’re munching on a box of nuggets or sipping a Shamrock shake—if they have those in the Netherlands.

This is the third year McDonald’s Netherlands has done this kind of awareness-raising campaign around recycling, says McDonald’s Netherlands senior communication consultant Roos Franssen. The promotion, which began Aug. 16, happens inside all of the 258 McDonald’s restaurants in the Netherlands.

Litter Glamour models
You’re seeing it correctly: These glamorous models are wearing McDonald’s gold jewelry. It’s for a good cause. The McDonald’s Netherlands restaurants are running a special campaign to encourage its customers to reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste. If they  throw away their waste in McDonald’s restaurants, they may win a 14k gold piece of…trash. It’s better than it sounds, really.

The previous two campaigns were entitled You Bin It, You Win It and Trash Dance, running in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Both campaigns were created to help customers and other McDonald’s Netherlands partners focus on the fight against litter and the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste.

So far, the campaigns have received a lot of attention and plenty of good press, thus it is a win-win-win for fans and the company, it seems.

Here’s how the contest works—and it’s a bit of a doozy. From Aug. 16 through Sept. 12, McDonald’s Netherlands customers are asked to throw away their garbage in the special golden promotional waste bin. All 258 restaurants have one. On a selected time and date that is unknown to participants, a notary will be in the restaurant and determine the singular guest who uses the golden promotional trash bin. That person then wins one of the seven total prizes.

All in all, this kinda messy process has a positive outcome: McDonald’s is boosting its sustainability systemwide in the Netherlands. In recent years, McDonald’s has adapted the McFlurry cup and plastic straw to paper versions, which saves 125,000 kilos of plastic per year. And where possible, cardboard boxes of products are replaced by paper wrappers.

Currently, 91% of the product packaging used by McDonald’s in the Netherlands is made of renewable, recycled, or certified materials. By 2025, McDonald’s wants 100% of its product packaging is made from renewable, recycled, or certified materials. In addition, McDonald’s Netherlands aims to reduce the share of waste that is recycled from 41% to 90% by 2025.

In its contest press release, McDonald’s Netherlands director of marketing and communications Stijn Mentrop said the restaurant chain “likes to reward good behavior.”

“Together with our restaurant teams, we do everything we can every day to reduce and recycle properly. But we can’t do this without the help of our guests,” Mentrop said in a statement. “We do this in a positive way to raise awareness among our guests. We are therefore looking forward to doing this through our…beautiful jewelry as a reward for properly disposing of waste!”

Top: McDonald’s Netherlands is promoting good behavior and keeping its restaurants tidy through a special contest in which people who are throwing away waste can win McDonald’s-themed jewelry. No, honestly. We’re not kidding—it’s real (photos courtesy of McDonald’s Netherlands). 

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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