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P R E S S . R E L E A S E . 05.03.2000
McDonald's Contribution To Ozone Depletion
Information accurate as of 1998
London Greenpeace / McLibel Support Campaign, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX Tel/Fax +44 (0)171 713 1269 firstname.lastname@example.org
3rd February 1998
McDONALD'S AND ITS CONTINUING CONTRIBUTION TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE EARTH'S OZONE LAYER - 1997 UK SUPPLIERS' DOCUMENTS REVEALED
1. THE OZONE CRISIS
The thinning out of the ozone layer in the atmosphere is one of the world's major environmental crises. Without the screening out of dangerous ultra violet rays the world's population are at great risk of contracting skin cancers at epidemic rates. For over a decade it has been known that ozone levels over the Arctic and Antartic are catastophically thin, and that the land area affected has been increasing. Even in the UK, people are being advised to keep out of direct sunlight over prolonged periods. And now, since last month, it has come out that there is serious ozone depletion over northern Russia, including Moscow.
2. THE INDUSTRIAL CAUSES, AND McDONALD'S CONTRIBUTION
The use of CFCs and HCFCs in industrial production is one of the primary causes of this threat. Following environmental protests, in 1978 the US Senate banned the use of CFC blowing agents employed in the manufacture of aerosols. But industrial production and use continued, especially as a blowing agent in polystyrene/styrofoam and as coolants in refridgeration processes. In the mid-1980's, environmentalists demanded a total ban on CFCs. There was a large and successful 'McToxics' campaign which focussed on McDonald's as the largest user of polystyrene foam fast food packaging. Friends of the Earth launched a boycott of McDonald's in the UK. (Even McDonald's own expert in the McLibel case was forced to admit that the volume of the company's CFC/HCFC usage at that time for their packaging alone was 'significant'). By the late 1980's, even governments were forced to recognise the dangers and the 'Montreal Convention' agreed that CFC usage should be ended. However, the use in refridgeration continued to be sanctioned.
McDonald's in the USA and UK abandoned CFCs in packaging, but in 1989 the Corporation was STILL using packaging containing CFCs and HCFCs in 29 countries. Despite issuing a load of 'greenwash' propaganda in the late 1980's and onwards about how much the Corporation cared about the ozone layer, McDonald's were amazingly still using such packaging in Hong Kong, Turkey and the Philippines during the McLibel trial.
Meanwhile, usage in industrial refridgeration continued unabated. One major industry responsible for this was the meat and meat products industry, and its growing practice of using less and less fresh products and more and more processed products, transported over long distances etc. McDonald's, the world's largest promoter of processed beef products, has ensured the continued use of huge amounts of refridgeration machinery and coolant materials - in the slaughterhouses, manufacturing plants and transportation fleets which supply their meat products, and in their storage areas in their local stores. This includes the use of massive volumes of CFC chemicals. Such systems also use vast amounts of electricity and therefore also contribute to global warming.
3. McDONALD'S UK TO CHANGE TO 'CHEAPER' REFRIDGERANTS WHICH CONTINUE TO USE OZONE-DAMAGING CHEMICALS
The McLibel Support Campaign has obtained a 1997 document published by the
UK refridgerant company, Greencool. Entitled