McDonalds’ ‘Environmentally-Friendly’ Paper Straws Aren’t Actually Recyclable

AvatarChristopher Lamb in News, World
Published 07.08.19
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It seems as though it took the impending doom of the earth to make corporate giants really think about they way their business is impacting our environment.

McDonald’s tackled this by replacing their plastic straws with recyclable paper straws in a bid to prove they somewhat care about the environment, however as it turns out these straws are no more recyclable than the ones they replaced.

A recent internal investigation by The Sun revealed that McDonald’s paper straws are “are not other recyclable and should be disposed of in general waste”. So it seems that despite the company’s best efforts it’s obvious there’s still work to be done (similar to how work needs to be done on the constantly broken McFlurry machines).

McDonald’s can’t seem to catch a break sometimes, whether it’s an investigation finding out McNuggets are made with old car tires or that the beef is laced with laxatives. It’s a shame as when they appear to make a valiant effort by going paper straws, they still manage to cock it up.

A McDonald’s spokesman told the UK’s Press Association news agency that “while the materials are recyclable, their thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed”.

Thanks spokesman you’ve told us paper can, indeed, be recycled.

Furthermore, Mark Varney, the firm’s marketing director, told Radio Wales Breakfast with Claire Summers:There’s two major things here – the product and the process.

“The fact of the matter is our straw is recyclable, 100% recyclable.”

However, he said “infrastructure from businesses and local authorities” was needed “to help to maximise the opportunity to recycle them”.

“We constantly work on new solutions, the straw of last year to where you look at now is totally different,” he said, adding that they were working with recycling companies to “align” recycling processes at all levels to make sure that all recyclable products were recycled.

The now un-environmentally friendly paper straws are manufactured by Transcend Packaging in Ebbw Vale, South Wales.

This use of paper straws came about in 2018 after a combination of public opinion and the UK government advised the fast food restaurant to change their ways, though it seems not everyone was pleased with the change, with many customers reporting that their straws had “dissolved” within their drink.

When the firm announced the introduction of paper straws, it said the move was “part of wider efforts to protect the environment.”

“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,” Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said in a press release at the time.

The plastic straws previously used could be recycled, but the British government has moved to ban all plastic straws by 2020 and encouraged chains to ditch them altogether.

Clearly, McDonald’s still has a long way to go until they can prove to the public they are interested in being a sustainable business. Maybe they can get rid of the plastic lids off cups as well?

This issue seems worlds away from the McDonald’s of old (2006) when the biggest crisis was that they stopped serving those different coloured MP3 things with the happy meals.

Images via Getty

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