Plastic straws are widely used in the restaurant business, but considering the enormous waste they create, there has been a rising awareness regarding the issue. Now even big companies are coming together to help and take action. McDonald's have announced that they will stop using plastic straws in September, and instead will replace them with ones made of paper. This only applies to the UK and Ireland, but is still significant considering they use 1.8 million straws in the UK daily.
McDonald's is a huge business, so it's very important that they have decided to help with the issue of using plastic products. They will replace plastic straws with paper ones starting in September, which only refers to their restaurants in UK and Ireland. The following statement was issued regarding the change: "The reduction and use of plastics is a hugely important issue - for our business, for the sector, and for society."
There has been a rising awareness regarding the issue of plastic straws, and popular faces such as actor Adrian Grenier, the star of the show 'Entourage', have had a lot to say about it: "We really need to get to the root of the problem, and it really does circle back to our relationship to convenience, and our sense that things are disposable, which they aren't. Small changes are the way we get there."
Recently, the city of Seattle issued a ban on the use of plastic straw, which will become effective this July. The decision didn't just happen out of nowhere. The roots could be traced back to 2008. At the time, certain people felt that it couldn't be done because about 5,000 businesses didn't have any alternatives., however, this has now changed with the new options of paper straws and compostable utensils.
Kate Melges, who is an employee at Greenpeace, was quoted to say: "It's taking a stand on plastic pollution. And really taking a stand on what needs to happen, a ban on all single-use plastic products." In relation, Dune Ives, the principle of Lonely Whale, said: "So, what we're starting to see based on the work Seattle has done is it's really empowering communities all over the world. We actually don't need that plastic straws use."
As for McDonalds, they're currently using recyclable straws, which doesn't dismiss the fact that they have been trying out paper ones since May. The aftermath of this trial will lead to a complete change to paper straws on a national level by sometime next year. Apparently, the customers have had a part to play as well: "Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws."
McDonald's are taking a number of steps regarding the whole issue, and similar trials are occurring outside the UK, i.e. France and Norway as well. Moreover, the paper won't be random, but rather made from verified sources. The company also stated that: "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."