Environment

McDonald's looks to address plastic straw problem

McDonald's looks to address pl...
McDonald's has announced its intention to test alternatives to plastic straws in several markets
McDonald's has announced its intention to test alternatives to plastic straws in several markets
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McDonald's has announced its intention to test alternatives to plastic straws in several markets
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McDonald's has announced its intention to test alternatives to plastic straws in several markets

Single-use plastic straws are a massive environmental problem. In the US alone, around 500 million straws are used every day, and according to a 2017 survey plastic straws are the 11th most commonly found trash in the ocean. The problem has recently started to enter the public consciousness with calls for bans of the ubiquitous plastic drinking tubes. At least one major source of the problem has heard these calls, with McDonald's committing to find more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

The global fast-food giant has announced that from September, all 1,361 McDonald's restaurants in the UK and Ireland will begin to phase out plastic straws, with the transition to paper straws to be complete in 2019. Additionally, restaurants in Belgium have been trialing alternatives to plastic straws since earlier this year, with select outlets in the US, France, Sweden, Norway and Australia to also test non-plastic alternatives later this year. The company also plans to trial only offering straws upon request in several markets, including Malaysia.

"McDonald's is committed to using our scale for good and working to find sustainable solutions for plastic straws globally," says Francesca DeBiase Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain and Sustainability. "In addition to the exciting news from the UK today, we are testing straw alternatives in other countries to provide the best experience for our customers. We hope this work will support industry wide change and bring sustainable solutions to scale."

We hope other major players start to feel the pressure and announce similar moves in the near future. It's also worth pointing out that there are already plastic straw alternatives for those wishing to do their bit.

Source: McDonald's

8 comments
Bob
I remember when all straws were paper with a little wax coating. Shopping and grocery bags were also paper and only a problem when carrying cold items on a hot humid day.
c4jjm
Something is a bit off with this article, it says the US alone uses 500 million straws a day? There are only ~325M citizens....and I know for a fact that 100% of the population does not go out for fast food 1.5 times a day......
DavidB
I wondered about that math, too. I assume, though, that some portion of us is using multiple plastic straws each day. For example, each morning and afternoon stop at the coffee shop might involve stirring with one or more of those ubiquitous miniature straws, lunch and/or dinner a beverage with another full-size straw, an evening cocktail yet another miniature straw or two. Now throw in kids who love to grab a handful at any opportunity, and the numbers start to make sense.
BrianK56
Plastic water bottles are next.
c4jjm
DavidB, it's true that some people consume multiple straws per day...even per meal, but most people don't eat out more than a handful of times a week, if that. So I did some digging, turns out, a lot of sources post that number, but few if any explain where it came from...turns out it came from an activist that is currently 16 Y.O. based on research 'he did' years prior...there are no facts here... look up Milo Cress
highlandboy
Waxed paper - OK. But please don’t use unwaxed paper straws. They go soggy in under 30 seconds.
Lamar Havard
Simple...stop making plastic straws. People who must have a straw should carry their own. And make THOSE out of bamboo in case they end up by the road somewhere.
RoGuE_StreaK
How about they actually introduce recycling bins? I haven't seen a single Maccas in Aus with recycling (food courts excepted)