“Our suppliers have made us paper straws that last at least 30 minutes in most, if not all liquids.”
Fast food chain McDonald’s has hit back at a petition calling for it to ditch paper straws and has said that it is “pleased to be doing the right thing” in removing plastic from its restaurants in the UK and Ireland.
The fast food giant is in the process of cutting out single-use plastic, swapping out plastic straws for paper ones at its UK and Ireland restaurants.
However, an online petition hosted by 38 Degrees calling for a return to plastic straws has so far garnered more than 35,000 signatures. The poll was started by a member of the public called Martin Reed.
McDonald’s (@McDonalds) supplies 1.8 million straws to its four million UK customers each day.
In response, the restaurant chain say that they are “doing the right thing” and plan to roll the paper straws across the whole of the UK.
A spokeswoman told Bio Market Insights: “Our suppliers have made us paper straws that last at least 30 minutes in most, if not all liquids. They were introduced following customer feedback, and we are pleased to be doing the right thing in removing plastic from our restaurants and taking significant steps to reduce our environmental impact.”
The phased roll out of paper straws to all 1,361 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland began in September 2018 and is set to be completed by the end of this year.
McDonald’s plans to promote paper straws came after the UK government committed to eliminating avoidable plastic via its ’25-year Environment Plan’. Last year, Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said: “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.”
How businesses deal with the journey towards phasing out single-use plastics is an issue that is gaining prominence. The topic of making sure alternatives to single-use plastics are functional is also being analysed by businesses.
Yet, the petition started by Reed calls on the fast food chain to “bring back McDonald’s straws, so I can drink my milkshake proper”.
Many social media users agree. Twitter user Brian Larmour (@sirusdavirus87) said: “What good is a straw when it’s made of cardboard and becomes unusable.”
Another user claimed it was like “drinking a milkshake through an empty toilet roll tube”.
However, others have backed McDonald’s aims to stick to paper straws. Twitter user Will (@WJNGaming) said: “If you’re one of the 30k people who have signed the petition for McDonald’s to bring back plastic straws because it ‘ruins your drink’, your priorities need a serious looking at – your plastic straw aids in ruining the planet, so suck it up and use a god damn paper straw.”
Separately, it also worth noting that on the petition hosted by 38 Degrees calling for return of plastic straws, the organisation has made a link to one of its own petitions to ban plastic straws in cinemas. 38 Degrees claim that “single use ‘throw away’ plastic items like straws, cups and bottles have a huge impact on our environment”.
That petition has so far garnered more than 215,000 signatures.
Elsewhere, many UK businesses have also pledged to commit to paper straws and the phase out of plastic ones, including Waitrose, Costa Coffee, Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon pubs.