New Zealanders use more than 300 million takeaway cups each year, around 63 cups each - most of which end up in landfills.
Seventy-million of those are sourced from McDonald's alone, however, the American fast-food restaurant plans to make a difference.
A trial was launched by McDonald's New Zealand to transform used paper cups into resources, including back into the local supply chain.
Collection stations would be placed in six Auckland restaurants, helping customers separate their cups from other waste streams.
The trial restaurants:
• Manukau City
Used cups would be shredded and recycled into fibre pulp and used for new packaging, including McDonald's cup holders and egg trays.
Single-use packaging and plastics were among the biggest concerns Kiwis had, McDonald's New Zealand managing director Dave Howse said.
"We can use our scale to help drive positive changes and build capability and infrastructure.
"We've got visible and well-located restaurants around the country that can provide a convenient collection point for single-use items like cups."
The initiative was part of McDonald's 2025 goal for 100 per cent of guest packaging to be made from renewable, recycled or certified sources. Packaging would also be recycled in all McDonald's restaurants.
Customers want to recycle and there was a need to make it easier for them, managing director of Closed Loop, who run the programme, Rob Pascoe said.
"In Australia, the programme has grown exponentially, with more than seven million cups diverted from landfill at a current rate of more than half a million cups per month.
"Simply Cups collection stations will be placed in McDonald's restaurants, allowing customers to easily separate their lids, liquids, and ice, and cups into separate waste tubes."
Collaboration would be key to transitioning into a circular economy, Packaging Council of New Zealand and executive director Sharon Humphries said.
"It is fantastic to see two local companies, of iconic global businesses, unlocking solutions, together, here in New Zealand."
Elsewhere, McDonald's was also trialling fibre-based straws since early this year to replace their current plastic straws.