In recent months, tensions around plastic pollution have heightened and as opposition to plastic straws continues to grow, we are seeing more and more companies implementing strategies to phase out the harmful beasts. A popular trend of late is seeing well-known chains in the food industry, including Starbucks and McDonald’s, build brand equity as an environmentally friendly retailer through sustainable acts. The latest instalment has seen McDonald’s Australia setting their sights on phasing out plastic straws from their 970 restaurants by 2020.
Environmental groups say Australians use about 10 million straws every day, or 3.5 billion a year. From this, and their ever-growing impact on the marine life, paper straws are looking to be the best alternative. As of August 2018, McDonald’s will be trialling paper straws in a few restaurants as they are known for being 100% recyclable and biodegradable. Paper is made from wood, a natural and renewable material. As young trees grow they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. As a wood product, paper also continues to store carbon throughout its lifetime, making them effective carbon sinks. Being one of the most recycled products in Australia, it’s only natural for companies to replace plastics with paper alternatives.
As one of the largest restaurant businesses, McDonald’s have the opportunity to instil change and lead the way for environmental sustainability globally. This is a strong step in the right direction to welcome paper as a sustainable resource in the food industry and reduce plastic pollution.