Europe

McDonalds new paper straws ‘NOT recyclable’ – and old plastic tubes MORE eco-friendlY

Last September, the fast food giant swapped out plastic straws for more eco-friendly paper ones as an EU directive clamped down on plastic waste. McDonald’s had previously admitted using 1.8million plastic straws in its 1,361 UK branches each day. The company said its plastic straws were “100 percent recyclable”.

However, the chain said it changed to paper tubes because “more can be done” to cut down on pollution caused by plastic waste.

But an internal memo has shown the new paper straws must be disposed of in general waste bins rather than recycling bins.

They are then burned instead of sent to recycling plants.

Customers are said to “hate” the new straws, claiming it makes drinking milkshakes impossible.

They also claim the paper straws go damp and are dissolved by fizzy drinks such as lemonade and Coca-Cola.

According to reports, the internal memo read: “Paper straws are not yet recyclable and should be disposed of in general waste until further notice.”

A McDonald’s insider told the Sun: “When McDonald’s introduced paper straws it was getting pats on the back for being environmentally responsible

“But it seems like it was a stunt to appease green campaigners because the things go straight in the rubbish.

“It’s ridiculously stupid.”

Stuart Foster – spokesman for Plastic recycling charity RECOUP – said: “Everyone is switched on environmental discussions but the big firms need time to understand what they’re doing.”

And former Climate change secretary Ed Davey said: “It really can’t be that difficult to replace plastic straws.

“People will be left wondering whether this was just greenwash or a monumental c**k-up.”

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But Friends of the Earth spokesman Julian Kirby said the fast-food chain should axe straws altogether.

Mr Kirby said: “Lips have been a waste-free alternative for millions of years.”

On Sunday, the firm said of the memo: “We strengthened our paper straws so, while the materials are recyclable, their thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers.

“We’re working with them to find a solution so putting paper straws in general waste is therefore temporary.”

Express.co.uk have contacted McDonalds for comment.

The European Parliament said it would enforce a ban of disposable plastic products such as plastic straws, plastic utensils, and plastic cotton buds.

If there are greener alternatives, the items would face a bloc-wide ban by 2021.

The European Commission claimed that without necesscary legislation to tackle the problem of disposable plastic waste, the oceans would contain more plastic than fish by 2050.

German TV channel RTL spoke to German Green MEP, Martin Häusling, about the bloc wide plastic ban.

Mr Häusling explained: “Well, for now it will be about the first small steps and this means disposable packaging and disposable plastic cutlery will disappear from the market.”

“Therefore, it is now about things that can easily be replaced. Straws do not have to be made out of plastic.

“You can find them everywhere in the environment. Used once and then binned, that cannot be.”

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