McDonald's to switch to paper straws in all UK restaurants

FAST food giant McDonald's has announced plans to replace its plastic straws with paper ones across all its restaurants in the UK and Ireland.

Friday, 15th June 2018, 8:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 4:49 pm
The McDonald's logo. Picture: WikiCommons (labelled for reuse)

A roll-out of paper straws in all 1,361 restaurants will begin from September, with the process to be completed next year.

The move comes as pressure grows on companies to reduce single-use plastic products and packaging, amid concerns over plastic pollution in the oceans where items such as straws end up harming wildlife like turtles and fish.

The government has unveiled plans that could see plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds banned from sale in England as part of efforts to cut the amount of waste which ends up rivers and oceans.

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McDonald’s said it had found two suppliers to meet its needs for paper straws, the start-up Transcend Packaging, based in Wales, and Huhtamaki – a global company which will produce the straws at its plant in Belfast.

As previously reported in The News, the latter firm also has a base in Rowner Road, Gosport – and just last year launched a precedent-setting paper coffee cup recycling scheme.

McDonald’s has conducted a trial of the paper replacements at a handful of venues since April, and found customers reacted positively to the change, with the majority supporting the effort to protect the environment.

The brand has already taken steps in all its restaurants in the UK and Ireland to put plastic straws behind the counter to reduce waste.

In using the new straws McDonald’s follows pledges from Burger King, JD Wetherspoon, Costa Coffee and other brands – and has said it will use paper coming from certified sustainable sources.

Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said: ‘Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws but to do so without compromising their overall experience when visiting our restaurants.

‘Over the past few months we’ve been working closely with supplier partners to find a solution that works both for our customers, and that the supply is there given the size of our business.

‘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.’

Alternatives to plastic straws are being tested in Belgium and trials will begin in selected restaurants in the US, France and Norway.

In parts of Latin America and Malaysia, the company is starting to offer straws on request only.

The switch from McDonald’s comes after The News teamed up with Final Straw Solent to spearhead a plastic-reducing campaign earlier this year.

Since its introduction, scores of businesses have joined the movement in a bid to reduce their environmental footprint.