McDonald’s have been making use of paper straws over the last year, which although classed as “eco-friendly” by the fast food chain, cannot be recycled up to now.
As part of a growing movement against plastic straws, McDonald’s removed their plastic straws from every United Kingdom branch during by the end of last year, even though they could be recycled.
However, the new paper straws cannot be recycled, as even though the materials that they are made of are recyclable, their thickness makes them extremely difficult to be processed, according to the fast food giant.
Instead, it has told people to put them into general waste, rather than in recycling bins.
The new paper straws are manufactured by a company in south Wales, Transcend Packaging, which is based in Ebbw Vale.
However, plenty of customers have complained about the quality of the paper straws, with many claiming that they were not strong enough to fully drink from. Milkshakes were the most problematic drinks that customers had when it came to drinking from the new straws.
A statement from a McDonald’s spokesman read “As a result of customer feedback, we have strengthened our paper straws, so while the materials are recyclable, their current thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers, who also help us recycle our paper cups.”
The company is currently working on a permanent solution for the problem.
McDonald’s also added that “This waste from our restaurants does not go to a landfill, but is used to generate energy.”
The global restaurant chain uses over 1.8 million straws every day in the United Kingdom alone, and so this particular move towards paper straws rather than plastic ones is a significant step towards the reduction of single-use plastic.
According to various studies, certain single-use plastics can take hundreds of years to decompose if they are not properly recycled, especially since most of these straws are made from polypropylene and polystyrene.
Speaking on the matter, several environmental organisations have stated that in order to properly solve the problem, straws should be cut out completely, since “Lips have been a waste-free alternative to straws for millions of years.”