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McDonald’s has recently admitted to having difficulty recycling its paper straws.
In 2018, the fast-food giant started to roll out paper straws in its UK and Ireland outlets after the public called on the company to get rid of plastic straws. Initially, the restaurant used recyclable plastic straws. Then, it switched to thin paper straws but later received complaints that the straws were unpleasant to use. According to customers, the straws dissolved and became soggy before they could finish their drinks. Criticisms led McDonald’s to use thicker and stronger paper straws, which the company later found to be difficult to process in recycling machines.
According to a UK newspaper, an internal memo instructed McDonald’s employees to dispose of the thick paper straws in general waste bins instead of in recycling bins. In the company’s defense, a McDonald’s spokesperson said that this mode of disposal is only meant to be temporary. He even said that waste from McDonald’s outlets is used to generate energy instead of being sent to landfills.
To solve its problem with recycling the straws, McDonald’s is currently working with its waste management partners to come up with a solution.
McDonald’s statement about its inability to recycle its paper straws came months after someone started an online petition urging the company to return to plastic straws. The man behind the campaign said in his petition that he wants plastic straws back so he can enjoy drinking McDonald’s milkshakes without the straw getting soggy. The petition, which was posted on 38Degrees.org, has now garnered more than 51,000 signatures.