It’s been a long time coming but McDonald’s are slowly jumping on the ‘plastic is bad’ bandwagon, and are putting some top notch minimal effort into reducing waste and encouraging customers to get recycling.
Maccas in the UK will start trialing paper straws in some of their 1,300 restaurants as of May this year.
But here’s the catch, if you actually want a plastic straw, all you have to do is ask. They’ll still have them behind the counter, just not on the counter.
The straws are still being produced, and will eventually have to go somewhere when they’re either used, or discarded, so is this whole paper vs. plastic thing really going to do any good?
If you’re anything like me, your occasional trip to McDonald’s fits into either one of two categories: “I hate myself but let’s do this” or “Give me one of everything on the menu because I’m dying”.
Most people are there for an instant meal fix, so I’m not sure recycling is going to be their top priority unless it’s literally forced upon them (which it should be).
When I’m at McDonald’s I want to get in, get out, and eat my many reprehensible purchases in the privacy of my own car.
I’m not thinking about anything else, especially not the packaging I’m using.
But there’s a simple answer here that will steer us all in the right direction.
In order to make a real impact on the tonnes of plastic wasted by McDonald’s every day, all they have to do is remove the option of plastic straws entirely.
Don’t give us the option of choosing between paper or plastic.
Make the decision for us, and leave us to relax and chew knowing we’re only damaging our personal health, not the environment.
I’m hoping this initiative by McDonald’s will encourage better humans than me to be more aware of the impact of plastic products, practice waste reduction, and explore the benefits of recycling.
But I can’t helping thinking… wouldn’t it just make more sense just to ban the items that are doing the damage?
Just ditch ‘em, and get the UK on track to align with their goal of being completely free of avoidable plastic waste within the next 25 years.
A 2017 report by Zero Waste France claimed that as of last year, McDonald’s was using nearly 2.8 tonnes of packaging every single minute, and that its “insufficient” recycling and waste management methods needed to be revisited.
The French have a point.
Sure, introducing paper straws is a start, but it’s not enough when you think of what McDonald’s would actually be capable of achieving if they put in the effort.
There are plenty of other orgnisations and communities already flexing their sustainability muscles.
In Malibu, California, all plastic cutlery and drinking straws (pretty much anything that’s single-use plastic) will soon be banned, and plastic bags and Styrofoam have already been given the ol’ heave-ho.
In July of this year, the city of Seattle is also planning to ban plastic straws and cutlery, while the nation of Taiwan is set to be completely free of single-use plastics by 2030.
OK, Australia, so what are we doing?
Let’s get on it.