McDonald's to stop offering plastic straws

McDonald’s announces end of plastic straws in the UK and Ireland
By Beki Winchel | Posted

McDonald's is to replace plastic drinking straws with paper in all of its United Kingdom and Ireland (Other OTC: IRLD - news) branches.

McDonald's last month rejected a proposal to abandon plastic straws at a shareholder meeting.

McDonald's is planning to opt out of using plastic straws, with paper straws in their United Kingdom and Ireland locations.

"McDonald's is committed to using our scale for good and working to find sustainable solutions for plastic straws globally", said Francesca DeBiase, the company's executive vice president for global supply chain and sustainability.

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The paper used for the new straws will be drawn from sustainable forests and will be made by two companies, one of which is based in Northern Ireland.

"The government's ambitious plans, combined with strong customer opinion, has helped to accelerate the move away from plastic and I'm proud that we've been able to play our part in helping to achieve this societal change".

SumOfUs, a conservationist group, considers plastic straws a significant ecological hazard.

Numerous straws that are given away with drinks are made up of plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene. These single-use straws take hundreds of years to decompose.

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By 2019 there should be no more plastic straws in these branches, with restaurants in the US, France, Sweden, Norway and Australia all expected to begin trialling alternatives for plastic straws by the end of the year.

In Malaysia, it will offer straws only on request. Fast-food company Burger King banned them in the United Kingdom earlier this year.

'This is a clear demonstration that large companies and organisations are taking their environmental responsibilities seriously and moving in the right direction by eliminating single-use plastics, ' he said. "You could say it should've been done earlier, but it's certainly better late than never".

Meanwhile, packaging company Tetra Pak said: "We will continue to make the case that straws attached to our packages serve a vital functional objective, and that bans are not the best way to tackle this issue, given the consequences of doing so". California and New York City lawmakers are considering legislation that would prohibit them.

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The eventual replacement of plastic straws by McDonald's worldwide will hopefully reduce the amount of waste dumped into the environment.

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