Plastic Reduction Via Straws Off The Menu

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The switch will affect McDonald’s 1,361 outlets in Britain but not the rest of its 36,000 restaurants worldwide. Photograph: McDonald’s/PA

Most of the stories we link out to are examples of revolution, or at least incremental innovation, by way of market forces. At a time when there appear to be incentives for sliding backwards, it is even more important to highlight the rationality and logic of conservation. One small but important example here on the plastic reduction front, where the clientele of a large company take the lead:

McDonald’s to switch to paper straws in UK after customer campaign

Fast-food chain, which uses 1.8m straws a day, says plastic straws will go by 2019

McDonald’s will end the use of plastic straws in its British restaurants next year, after nearly half a million people called on the company to ditch them.

The decision by the US fast-food chain to switch from plastic to paper straws follows a trial at a number of outlets in the past two months. The firm uses around 1.8m straws a day in the UK.

The switch will affect McDonald’s 1,361 outlets in the UK, but not the rest of its 36,000 restaurants worldwide.

The Sum of Us petition calling for the change had warned that plastic straws ended up polluting the ocean, harming seabirds and marine life.

McDonald’s said it had listened to customer concerns and would begin phasing out plastic straws in September, completing the process at some point in 2019.

Paul Pomroy, the 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.”

The paper straws will be sourced from suppliers in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Initially, only a limited number of the chain’s restaurants will have recycling facilities for the paper straws, but the company has committed to ensuring they can be recycled at all stores by the end of 2019.

The government warned earlier this year that plastic straws, along with other single-use plastic items such as cotton buds, could be banned as part of its efforts to cut marine pollution…

Read the whole story here.

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