McDonald’s new paper straws, which the fast-food chain described as “eco-friendly” cannot be recycled.
It said goodbye to its plastic straws in the UK and Ireland last year as part of a green initiative.
McDonald’s now says that its paper straws are not easy to recycle and should therefore be disposed of in general waste.
People have reached on to McDonald’s in a bid to get them to reinstate their old plastic straws.
Of course #McDonalds paper straws aren't recyclable. Local Authorities clearly state contaminated & dirty materials can't be recycled. A paper straw soaked in a beverage can't be recycled. How could we have not have noticed this months ago!? 🥤🤦🏻♂️— Karl Downey ➡️🏴🏳️🌈 (@Karl_Downey) August 5, 2019
So the truth is out. The Paper McDonalds straws aren't recyclable but the plastic ones are!!!!! Get them back now— 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 (@robbie9isgod) August 5, 2019
Customers have been vocal about their dislike of the new paper straws, claiming they all but dissolve before the drink is finished.
The company has responded to the outrage.
“As a result of customer feedback, we have strengthened our paper straws, so while the materials are recyclable, their current thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers, who also help us recycle our paper cups.” A McDonald's spokesman said.
While the firm works on a solution it suggests the paper straws are put in general waste as a temporary measure.
A petition to bring back the plastic straws has been signed by over 50,000 people.
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The restaurant chain, which uses 1.8 million straws per day, has also come under fire on social media by customers questioning why they are still using the paper equivalents.
One Twitter user wrote: “Paper straws replaced plastic ones but they are neither fit for purpose or recyclable. Meanwhile happy meal toys continue to made out of...you guessed it, plastic. You couldn’t make this stuff up.”
@McDonalds paper straws replaced plastic ones but they are neither fit for purpose or recyclable. Meanwhile happy meal toys continue to made out of...you guessed it, plastic. You couldn’t make this stuff up. #McDonalds #nonsense— Michael Samuels (@msamuels75) August 5, 2019
Most moronic story of the day: Turns out @McDonalds replaced recyclable plastic straws that don’t disintegrate in your drink with paper straws that can’t be recycled and do ruin your drink🤣 as part of a “green” initiative.— Mike (@mickyjayuk) August 5, 2019
SO THESE SCATTY PAPER STRAWS FROM MCDONALDS ARENT EVEN RECYCLABLE ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH. RUINING MY COKE FOR NO REASON— FREE CYPRUS FROM ALL OCCUPATION🇨🇾 (@xOuraniaxo) August 5, 2019
Another user believes the problem is bigger than McDonald’s: “McDonald’s will get the flak here, but the main problem is that we STILL don’t have a proper, national, comprehensive recycling system. Different facilities and guidelines for every local authority, very few public bins, no clarity.”
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If not recycled properly, plastic straws can take hundreds of years to decompose.
With less than half of UK households currently recycling their waste, the switch back to plastic straws doesn’t seem like a viable option.
McDonald’s is currently working on an alternative to the problem, but advises users to put their straws in general waste as they sort out the issue.
Customers could always forgo the straw and lid and simply drink from the cup, too.