McDonald's paper straws less recyclable than plastic alternative

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
McDonald’s uses 1.8 million straws per day in the UK

Fast food giants McDonald’s has been sending its paper straws for disposal after it admitted to them not being recyclable.

Last year, it swapped out plastic straws for paper straws as part of a sustainability drive in the UK.

Yet the straws are unable to be recycled by the company’s current waste provider, leading them to be put in general waste as a temporary measure, according to The Sun.

Mcdonald’s said the materials are recyclable yet their thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed.

The straws are manufactured by Transcend Packaging, based in Ebbw Vale, south Wales.

A McDonalds spokesperson said: “While the materials the straws are made from are recyclable, they cannot currently be processed by waste solution providers or local authorities unless collected separately.

“This is a wider industry issue, as the infrastructure needed to recycle has not kept pace with the emergence of paper straws.”

A petition was set up by angry McDonald's customers to bring plastic straws back after the change- this has now been signed by 51,000 people.

Margaret Bates, professor of sustainable wastes at Northampton University, said the news showcases a wider problem of blaming certain materials.

“One of the main issues with plastic is littering which we need to stop. At the same time we need to look sensibly at what we need and what is the best material for that stuff. We need to mainstream end of life considerations in our decision making.”

McDonald’s uses 1.8 million straws per day in the UK.


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