Arizona McDonald’s restaurants are once again signing up schools to participate in the “McCafé School Gardens Grow!” program, which helps schools recycle used coffee grounds from their local McDonald’s.

The initiative, which was launched earlier this year, is part of McDonald’s “Good Neighbor Good Grounds” recycling program, designed to divert used coffee grounds from the waste stream by promoting the reuse of coffee grounds to add nutrients to soil or compost.

Phoenix McDonald’s owner, Dorothy Stingley, said that the program has reached a new milestone with 150 schools in the Arizona Department of Education’s School Garden Program now recycling their coffee grounds. Schools pick up the grounds weekly from the local McDonald’s. They also receive a classroom poster that explains the program.

According to a recent waste assessment audit by Waste Management, a McDonald’s restaurant has 29.5 pounds of coffee grounds waste each day, which annually amounts to 11,000 pounds. There are about 300 McDonald’s restaurants around the state.

“Our McDonald’s restaurants serve a lot of coffee,” Stingley said. “Partnering with our local schools to reduce our coffee grounds waste is beneficial for everyone. Concern for the environment is important to us as well as our customers.”

Stingley also said that the company practices responsible coffee sourcing, with the majority of its certified coffee purchases from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, including 100% of espresso in the U.S.

“Our restaurants work hard to reuse, reduce and recycle,” she said. “We also currently recycle used cooking oil in nearly all of our restaurants. Our napkins are made out of 100% recycled content and we are the first in the industry to have the “How2Recycle” label on many of our recyclable packages, bags and clear cups. We’ve also set a time-bound goal to achieve 100% of our packaging from certified or recycled sources by the year 2020.”

Schools or community gardens interested in participating in the coffee grounds recycling program may contact Rhonda Grundemann at 602-739-8810.