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Sadness: It Turns Out McDonald’s Cannot Recycle the New Paper Straws

Sadness: It Turns Out McDonald’s Cannot Recycle the New Paper Straws

“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.”

Green justice warriors touted McDonald’s paper straws as a “sustainable” replacement for the plastic straws that they insisted kill the ocean.

It turns out that they aren’t actually recyclable.

McDonald’s restaurants in Europe serve paper straws to customers to avoid using plastic — but those paper straws, it turns out, are not yet able to be recycled.

The fast-food company announced last year plans to switch to paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2019 as part of McDonald’s “goal to source 100% of guest packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025 and to have guest packaging recycling in all restaurants globally.”

It turns out they cannot recycle the thicker versions required for shakes.

“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 told the UK’s Press Association news agency.

McDonald’s UK and Ireland has not yet responded to CNN’s requests for comment.

The issue was first revealed by The Sun newspaper, which published an internal McDonald’s (MCD) memo saying that the company’s paper straws “are not yet recyclable and should be disposed of in general waste until further notice.”

Meanwhile, in California where the plastic straw ban has been in effect, the market for paper straws is tight.

“The paper straw industry got overloaded, they couldn’t keep up with the demand and so what we did as a first step is we put the straws away and put them behind the counter,” [Woodstock’s Pizza owner Laura] Ambrose said. “We tell our guests that they need to ask for a straw and then they parcel those out one by one.”

Not only has she not been able to find a paper straw supplier who can keep up with the demand, but paper straws are also more expensive than plastic, she said.

Some California residents are offering possible recycling alternatives.

Florida residents may want to take note of California’s struggles.

A fight over disposable straws could return to the state Legislature, even after Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year vetoed a bill that would have blocked local governments from banning plastic straws.

A measure (SB 40) filed Friday by Sen. Kevin Rader, a Delray Beach Democrat, would take the opposite approach, by prohibiting the use of plastic straws and plastic “carryout” bags statewide. Rader’s plan would allow single-use straws made from nonplastic materials, such as “paper, pasta, sugarcane, wood, or bamboo.”

The quest to save Earth continues one virtue-signaling straw at a time.


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The Friendly Grizzly | August 7, 2019 at 1:04 pm

“Guest packaging “? Okay, fine. But, what do they package the food in?

healthguyfsu | August 7, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Still probably a step in the right direction as they should degrade more easily being made of paper.

I’m no green freak but my wife is an avid user of straws and those plastic ones are a huge pain in the butt.

    Valerie in reply to healthguyfsu. | August 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Straws in restaurants limit the spread of disease. Metal straws can kill you, if you are unfortunate enough to trip and fall on one.

    One dead person is too many, by microbe or by thin, metal pipe.

    Can’t plastic straws be made out of recyclable materials?

      healthguyfsu in reply to Valerie. | August 7, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      I never advocated for steel. Wife didn’t like them…too cold. I said the paper was okay because it can biodegrade and there is no additional microbial risk from a sealed single use paper straw (that I know of).

      Recycling plastics is a mixed bag. For one, plastics that can be recycled still have a way of finding themselves in the environment due to people that can’t be bothered. For another, cities and other entities are picky about what they take. My city, for example, won’t take plastic bags even though they are recyclable. They say it clogs up their machinery (but supposedly the program makes money in our city…haven’t seen a dime of that)

        randian in reply to healthguyfsu. | August 7, 2019 at 11:50 pm

        If the profits are real, which I doubt, of course you haven’t seen any of that money, it’s for salaries and benefits for municipal employees.

          healthguyfsu in reply to randian. | August 8, 2019 at 3:03 pm

          Yeah, I never thought I would either.

          I know that the city next door gives their residents a trash bill discount if they recycle at least 10% of their materials. However, they charge too many other taxes anyways, so it’s not worth it to move there.

amatuerwrangler | August 7, 2019 at 1:18 pm

What about the plastic snap-on lids for the cups; and then there are those plastic utensils. I haven’t heard about them “killing the ocean”.

Has anyone given any thought to the possibility that the ocean has decided to chase all the non-edible debris that gets dumped into it into specific “dump sites” so that the rest of the ocean is OK for the fish? And our enviro-maniacs are obsessing over these dump sites? Just wondering…

    UnCivilServant in reply to amatuerwrangler. | August 7, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    There’s also the fact that the debris in these “garbage patches” has largely broken down into small shards, and to get any good propaganda pictures, the activists had to throw trash into the ocean before taking pictures.

      Milhouse in reply to UnCivilServant. | August 7, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      Small as in microscopic. Of course the ecofascists then claim that fish and other critters swallow these microparticles of plastic, which I can easily believe, and that it does them enormous harm, for which I would like to see some shred of evidence.

        rabidfox in reply to Milhouse. | August 8, 2019 at 9:28 am

        Don’t forget the plastic eating microbes as well. The smaller the particle the larger the surface area to volume is which makes it even easier for the lovely little microbes to work their digestive miracles.

    Disco Stu_ in reply to amatuerwrangler. | August 8, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Real men don’t use straws anyway. So no issue here.
    (Just don’t mention it to my wife, though, okay?)

UnCivilServant | August 7, 2019 at 1:41 pm

I hate paper straws. Every one I have been forced to use has felt terrible, and got soggy well before I was done with it.

As for the environmentalists – not only are the numbers they spew way out of proportion by orders of magnitude, but the process of making paper straws is much worse than that for plastic.

Most recycling is highly inefficient these days. The only economically-viable recycling is aluminum, and steel on an industrial-scale. The majority of recycling is just for virtue-signalling and muh feels.

    healthguyfsu in reply to rdmdawg. | August 7, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    This is very true.

    Recycling was supposed to get better over time but manufacturing improvements have driven innovation instead (wonder why?). The energy to recycle was also not accounted for in the initial equations of conservation advocacy propaganda.

    jhn1 in reply to rdmdawg. | August 7, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    And copper/brass

Antifundamentalist | August 7, 2019 at 2:05 pm

We do use too much disposable plastic, and we do need to reduce how much we use for convenience. Recyclable or not, paper straws are a step in the right direction. Don’t like paper straws? Bring your own. It will become your new normal after a while.

    You greens do love your sanctimony, eh?

    We do use too much disposable plastic, and we do need to reduce how much we use for convenience.


      Antifundamentalist in reply to Milhouse. | August 7, 2019 at 7:05 pm

      I Don’t really consider myself a green, some of their rhetoric is completely nonsensical. Though there is wisdom in some as well. As to “why” – have you ever walked along the bank of a a river after a flood? The amount of plastic trash is astounding. Have you seen the amount of plastic in local dumps and landfills? There has to be a better way to do things.

        “The amount of plastic trash is astounding.”

        What amount is that? Maybe it depends on what river you’re walking along. Here in the USA or China? The USA is clean, China has become a dump.

        Oversoul Of Dusk in reply to Antifundamentalist. | August 7, 2019 at 8:52 pm

        If the worst you can say about plastic is that it takes up space in landfills, you have a very weak case.

        What harm does the plastic do in a landfill?

    “We do use too much disposable plastic”
    “we do need to reduce how much we use for convenience.”

    show your w*rk that supports either or both of these claims.

    we’ll wait.

Who thought you could? There is no market for recycled paper right now. It is entirely artificial. The price of 40% recycled office paper is actually higher than virgin because of the added cost of the recycling and manufacturing. It also takes more energy and more bleach. The best use would be to burn it for energy.
There is a continuing market for virgin cardboard which can be manufactured into a lower class of corrugated cardboard popular in Asia and paper board such as that which toilet paper is wrapped around.

Oh, piffle. Everyone knows that the only really good use for straws is to tear off the wrapper at one end, then blow into the straw so the wrapper shoots off. Plastic or paper work just fine; the really important part is the wrapper, which should be aerodynamically sound for satisfactory performance.

    RodFC in reply to tom_swift. | August 7, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    And well sealed. That is the problem with McDonalds straws. Blow on one end and a hole rips in the opther end instead of the cover blowing off.

Well that’s the last straw.

A straw clown. That said, they may disintegrate better in the world’s oceans, as they are redistributed to lands with environmentally friendly arbitrage.

What can I say but “Make Straws Great Again”
How would you like to walk into a California restaraunt with one of those?

lerslie do they ship them to California?

2smartforlibs | August 7, 2019 at 3:45 pm

Funny thing is the old plastic ones could be

The third world refuses to take our plastic trash and recycle it anymore, no money in it so 4 th world companies take it and dump it in the ocean
Truth is we should be burning it and decrease the trash by 80% and that’s a fact jack that the environmental Nazis don’t like… tough sh!€!

I use straws too but I no longer recycle plastic once I found out what is going on in truth, cardboard, paper, glass and aluminum, cans, that’s it.

Burn baby burn

Cloth grocey bags are bacteria breeders. Julia Louise-Dryfuss is responsible for this idiocy.

Straws prevent disease and lawsuit liability. Scratch that protection.

CA’s Prop 65 mandatory warning signs (that there is toxic crap everywhere)has completely dilluted the public’s attention to anything toxic.

CA’s unisex bathroom now results in woman having to sit on filthy toilets (soiled by guys standing an peeing all over it) and little boys and girls being exposed to pervs transvestites that may follow them in a small, secluded room. (Also the legaacy of that clown, obama.)

Anything to add to the List of Democrat Stupid?

    We’ve all written off California, the sooner we give it back to Mexico (we stole it from Mexico), the better. Build a wall around that shithole state.

blacksburger | August 7, 2019 at 5:31 pm

“All of our garbage ends up in landfills here in the US, not the ocean.”

AIUI most of the plastic in the oceans is plastic fishing nets, which come into the oceans from rivers in Asia and Africa. I live more than a hundred miles from the coast, and I’m positive that none of my used plastic straws end up in the ocean.

We need a law that you can only use corncobs to wipe your *** with.
Will that satisfy all those greenie weenies whining about a non existent problem here in the US of plastic straws in the ocean? Vast majority of what straws that are out there come from India and the far east, not the US. But virtue imagers are gonna virtue image.
Put them through a shredder and then melt them into a big pile of McDonalds play house toys.

Paper straws don’t have a neutral taste, which is really annoying, and unlike plastic straws cannot be reused because they fall apart long before your meal is done. Why anybody thinks there is virtue in this amazes me.

    alaskabob in reply to randian. | August 8, 2019 at 2:26 am

    So more are used for one meal. Like requiring multiple flushes of low volume toilet which winds up using more water. Sippy cups everyone?

McDonalds: Proudly killing trees to save the environment.

Will any corporations learns from this? I doubt it.

Go woke. Go broke.