GOOD

McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

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Innovators

McDonald’s Workers Prep to Stage Largest Low-Wage Protest Ever

They say they won’t be pacified by the promised $1 pay raise.

McDonald’s execs are having a bad year. Not only is their brand rapidly falling out of the favor of young Americans, they’ve also got an increasingly angry, underpaid worker base on their hands. Despite its best efforts to pacify employees with a measly $1 pay raise, McDonald’s will find itself facing one of the largest protests for low-wage workers in company history, as organizers all over the U.S. mobilize workers in a Fight for $15 protest against “poverty wages” scheduled for May 21—the day of the company’s big shareholder meeting.

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The Wal-Mart Protester and the Ghost of Tom Joad

Re-examining a classic novel in the era of our growing low-wage economy

When I was a dumb high school kid, I read The Grapes of Wrath, and remember being struck by the countless indignities systematically inflicted upon the decent, hardworking Joad family and their fellow migrant workers in the name of pure financial profit. The outrage and confusion I felt at the conclusion of that Pulitzer Prize winner came rushing back this month as I read about the Los Angeles Wal-Mart employees and their supporters—some of whom put tape over their mouths to protest what at least one striker reportedly called “Wal-Mart’s illegal fear tactics.”—who were taken into custody following a demonstration that called for the store to pay $15 an hour and provide better work schedules. They seemed to be asking for the same things the Joad family had sought: a decent living that might lead to better opportunity, in exchange for diligent labor. The American dream by way of an honorable social contract. But like the Joads, they’re growing increasingly frustrated that one end of the social contract isn’t being held up, to disastrous effect for many American families.

Far from being over, it appears the protesters’ activism is just ramping up as employees at more than one thousand Wal-Mart stores plan to walk out on Black Friday (which actually begins for many Wal-Mart workers on Thanksgiving Day). Those laborers are far from the only ones in the United States disgruntled to the point of Tom Joad-levels of frustration. Thousands of fast-food workers also went on strike this September, demanding $15 an hour and the right to unionize. More than 430 of them in cities across the nation were arrested for blocking traffic and other violations, but they must have found the risk of being put in handcuffs less stressful than allowing the status quo to continue.

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Features

McDonald's Hired More than All of the Rest of the Economy Combined Without McDonald's Hiring Binge, America Would Have Lost Jobs Last Month

McDonald's hiring binge in April is the only reason today's "awful" job numbers weren't devastating.



The only thing keeping America from nationwide job losses last month were the Golden Arches. Contrary to popular belief, McDonald's April hiring binge wasn't counted in the government;s April employment report. Those 62,000 McJobs "created" in the one day HR/publicity stunt are the only reason that America didn't flat out lose jobs according to May's report.

The numbers out today: the U.S. economy created 54,000 jobs, about half what was expected. Unemployment ticked up to 9.1 percent. This bucks a three month trend were the economy created about 220,000 jobs each month, on average.

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