Sustainable Packaging
Wendy’s has set a goal to
Sustainably source  100% of our customer-facing packaging by 2026

Our journey to sustainable packaging

To accomplish this, over the next five years, Wendy’s will optimize our customer-facing packaging and transition to sustainable options, including items that:   

  • Have higher recycled content1    

  • Use fewer raw materials    

  • Adhere to an established restricted substance list 2 

  • Are recyclable, compostable or reusable3  

  • Are sourced from areas that do not contribute to deforestation4   


We have increased the percentage of packaging meeting our sustainable sourcing goal from 44% in 2020 to 48% in 2021, following our transition to recycled content in tray liners in the U.S. and Canada, and to paper straws in Canada. We also initiated the roll-out of our new beverage cups with increased recyclability in Q4 2021. Additionally, as of the end of 2021, no customer-facing packaging identified as intentionally containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances is sourced for our Wendy’s U.S. and Canada restaurants.5

Sustainable cups

In 2021, we announced a new collaboration with packaging and plastics industry leaders Berry Global and LyondellBasell that will help us move from a selection of plastic-lined paper cups with limited recyclability to single-substrate, clear plastic drink cups that more customers will be able to recycle.


As we introduce packaging with increased recyclability, it is important that we educate consumers on what packaging can be recycled and how to do so. That is why in 2021, Wendy’s joined the How2Recycle label program. Through this program, Wendy’s packaging in the U.S. and Canada will feature educational information for customers on proper ways to dispose of and recycle restaurant packaging.

How 2 Recycle

Joining the NextGen Consortium 


NextGen Cup Challenge logo

In 2019, Wendy’s became a supporting partner of the NextGen Consortium, a collaboration managed by Closed Loop Partners that is devoted to finding global solutions to reduce single-use food packaging waste. We continue to work closely with NextGen as it expands its work beyond its initial focus on fiber to-go cups. NextGen Consortium is now working to identify even more opportunities to advance the design, commercialization and recovery of packaging alternatives — from new materials and recovery strategies to reusable packaging systems that keep materials in use for as long as possible.  


Learn More >

1Recycled content is the proportion, by mass, of recycled material in packaging. Recycled material is material that has been reprocessed from recovered material by means of a manufacturing process and made into a final product or into a component for incorporation into a product. 
2Work with third-parties to ensure transparency and accountability to avoid any known chemicals of concern, such as PFAs. 
3Recyclable packaging can be diverted from the waste stream through available processes and programs and can be collected, processed and returned to use in the form of raw materials or products. Compostable packaging means that it undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO2, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate consistent with other known compostable materials and that leaves no visible, distinguishable, or toxic residue. Reusable packaging means that it has been conceived and designed to accomplish within its lifecycle a certain number of trips, rotations or uses for the same purpose for which it was conceived. No packaging shall be claimed to be reusable or refillable unless the product or packaging can be reused or refilled for its original purpose.
4All consumer-facing paper, fiber and pulp-derived packaging materials will hold applicable certification or equivalent by 2026 (e.g., Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council, or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).
5Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are non-polymer substances and a group of man-made chemicals commonly called PFAS.