McDonald's to launch 'evolved' paper straw after customer backlash

14 November 2019, 16:08 | Updated: 14 November 2019, 23:53

McDonald's says it is to launch an "evolved" paper straw across Europe following a backlash from customers over its first attempt.

The fast food chain, which recently hit headlines over the controversial departure of its British-born chief executive Steve Easterbrook, said the change it was bringing in was part of a wider commitment to the environment by reducing plastic and waste.

McDonald's replaced its plastic straws with paper versions in the UK from late last year following, what it said were, successful trials.

But tens of thousands of customers called for the move to be scrapped, claiming the straws became soggy too quickly and even dissolved.

The chief executive of McDonald's UK, Paul Pomroy, appeared on Sky News at the time to defend the straws - saying he had checked them himself.

The company said on Thursday that the new, more sturdy, straw would be distributed to restaurants across Europe, though it declined to give a time frame.

It said: "Following feedback from customers, and as the packaging industry has evolved, the paper straws being rolled out are now stronger while remaining made of fully recyclable materials."

The straw initiative forms part of the chain's 'Better M' platform to support the environment.

Another change was a makeover of McFlurry packaging to eliminate the need for a separate plastic lid. This would involve the container having flaps at the top, the company explained.

It said this would reduce more than 1,200 tonnes of plastic annually.

It also said it was also to stop plastic drink lids - but only in France.

The chain said they would be replaced by fibre. Edible packaging was to be trialled in Ukraine with its Sundae surround made from waffle.

Vice president of global sustainability at McDonald's, Keith Kenny, said: "We care about lessening our impact on the environment and know our customers do too.

"That's why we're finding new and innovative ways to reduce our use of packaging, switch to more sustainable materials and help our customers to reuse and recycle, too.

"The trials we are conducting across Europe are vital in helping us get first-hand feedback from customers on solutions that help them to be conscious consumers, without compromising on quality and the McDonald's experience they love."