McDonald’s created swimwear with its iconic red-and-yellow striped design using plastic straws to promote its European environmental credentials.
The company switched to paper straws in the U.K. and Ireland in 2018. However, it was ironic that these straws were less recyclable than their plastic counterparts. CNBC a spokesperson for the company stated that straws could not be used by local authorities or waste solution providers, and they must be collected separately.
Two British children created a Change.org petition to demand less plastic toys in Happy Meals. It was signed by 568.211 supporters and helped to emphasize the need to eliminate single-use plastic.
McDonald’s Berlin trialed a “nearly-plastic packaging-free” restaurant in June 2019. It was open for business for 10 days. People used paper straws, wooden cutlery, McNuggets came in paper bags, not cardboard boxes, and sandwiches were wrapped with grass packaging. Waffle cups were replaced by edible waffle cups.
McDonald’s quickly acted after the EU voted in favor of banning single-use plastics by 2021. In November 2019, McDonald’s completely eliminated straws from France and introduced recyclable lids with flaps in its 1,470 restaurants throughout the country.
France is McDonald’s second largest market in the world after the U.S. and the move was estimated by BFM TV will eliminate the 3.2 billion straws that were distributed each year in France.
McDonald’s plans to replace the McFlurry plastic lids by 100% recyclable packaging within all European restaurants by 2020.
The company created upcycled swimwear using plastic straws and other marine plastics, in response to Austria’s decision to ban plastic straws from its branches. The swimwear was created by Poleit, a Viennese label. It will be raffled on McDonald’s’s website.
McDonald’s has set a goal to have 100% of its guest packaging by 2025. This means that all 37,000 McDonald’s branches worldwide will use recycled, certified or renewable materials.