The new paper straws that caused such controversy last year include petitions which rechead 51,000 signatures to remove them have come under the spot light once more.
This time it’s McDonalds which has made the headlines again, but it applies to other fast food outlets, but the new paper straws can not be recycled at the moment.
The US chain has now issued a statement saying the new paper straws are not yet that easy to recycle and for the time being should be put into general waste.
Its all down to the thickness of the product, McDonadls says the materials are recyclable but the thickness makes this difficult to process.
It was only last Autumn that the company made the switch in all its UK and Republic of Ireland branches
One of the biggest complaints about them was that they would dissolve before you had chance to finish your drinks, especially milkshakes.
“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.
They are working on a solution, but in the short term to put paper straws in general waste, they did stress this was a temporary solution.
“This waste from our restaurants does not go to landfill, but is used to generate energy,” the company added.
McDonalds uses 1.8 million straws a day alone in the UK so the move was welcomed by environmental campaigners in trying to reduce single plastic use.
Some single-use plastic products can take hundreds of years to decompose if not recycled.
In April 2018, the UK government proposed a ban on plastic straws and cotton buds in England.
Most straws are made from plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene, which unless recycled, take hundreds of years to decompose.
Friend’s of the Earth’s Julian Kirby said: “For too long the debate has been stuck on recycling and how to deal with waste once it is created. We should be thinking about how to avoid waste creation.
“Lips have been a waste-free alternative to straws for millions of years.”
Supporters of the plastics straws are saying at least the plastic straws was recyclable, but the question has to asked, when was the last time you saw anyone recycling these, I will admit I never did but this maybe down to lack of knowledge about what items could re recycled.
If other chains did send the paper straws to landfill rather than recycle them, they would at least decompose a lot quicker than the plastic equilant.
Would you be happy to see a return to plastic straws – I personally wouldn’t.