Why McDonald's Replaced Plastic Straws for Disposable Papers?

by Jitesh Shah Online Shop Owner
It didn't take much time for the things to change when a video went viral. It showed researchers pulling out a plastic straw from the bloodied nose of an endangered sea turtle. The incident then turned out to be another point for environmentalists fighting against plastic usage. As a result, EU has announced plans to dramatically reduce plastic household items by 2021.

"The UK alone is throwing away around 8.5 billion plastic straws each year, potentially contributing to the over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans." Reveals a report on single-use plastics from an organisation called Eunomia. 

McDonald's and the UK’s Decision on Plastic Usage

The UK government has put forward an ambitious plan to further reduce plastic waste from straws, stirrers and cotton buds.

The fast-food giant McDonald's has become an unlikely ally to the anti-plastic movement. It is the latest company to opt out of some single-use plastic products which can take hundreds of years to decompose if not recycled.

McDonald's has announced that it would switch to paper straws in all of its 1,300 U.K. locations starting from September. The stores also will keep straws behind the counter, and customers will have to ask for a straw if they want one. The restaurant chain currently uses 1.8m straws a day in the UK.
The decision follows a successful trial in selected restaurants. The move to paper straws will be completed by next year. 

The anti-plastic activists say turning down straws is the best way for consumers to use less plastic. While the plastic manufacturers in the UK and the EU are struggling to find eco-friendly alternatives.

Plastic Alternatives

There are a number of options. In particular, paper coatings are now at a standard that makes them a suitable replacement for many products such as catering disposables and food containers. Whether it’s offering moisture resistance or preventing gas transference, there are certainly coated paperboard options available that can replace plastic packaging as we know it right now. Plastic has become a problem than it is for a reason. It offers all the right properties, its cheaper than paper and card treated with coatings and barriers and, everyone is used to it.

However, just because coated paper occupies a more environment-friendly position than plastics, it doesn’t make it inherently ‘green’. There are a lot of factors to consider beyond the packaging’s properties. But, with the right research and development, it does have the potential to address what has become a serious waste issue.

Paper straws don't have this flaw, but they are less durable and more expensive than plastic options. But until a durable, safe and affordable alternative is available, most of the companies will have to promote recycling.

As the eco-friendly consumer options remain limited, there are truly reusable straws made of bamboo, pricier paper, and metal or glass straws. And, of course, there's the ability to just turn down the straw at a restaurant. This small action can make a huge difference in the amount of plastic waste created every year.

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About Jitesh Shah Innovator     Online Shop Owner

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Joined APSense since, August 14th, 2014, From London, United Kingdom.

Created on Aug 29th 2018 05:32. Viewed 134 times.


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