Critics may consider this a cynical move, however, Mcdonald's has decided to phase out plastic straws. Speaking to Sky News, Paul Pomroy, the company's chief executive, made the announcement, stressing that eighty percent of McDonald's packaging is already recyclable. The company has been working hard to improve its image in response to bad publicity and multiple store closures.

Earlier this year, Francesca Debiase, McDonald's chief supply chain officer, spoke to Bloomberg, outlining the company's new strategy and stressing that it was responding to customer requests.

No more plastic straws in UK stores

From May of this year, the customers of the approximately 1300 UK McDonald's stores will obtain a paper straw instead of a traditional plastic one. In addition, the company will run a trial where straws are kept behind the counter to discourage their use. Speaking to Sky News, Paul Pomroy explained:"If you come into McDonald's going forward, you'll be asked if you want a straw." He added that he was particularly proud to start the use of paper-covered and biodegradable paper straws next month.

This is despite the fact that the conventional plastic straws are 100 percent recyclable. However, the company says it's reacting to consumer pressure with this move. In the UK alone, an estimated 8.5 million single-use straws are used each year.

Other food outlets have made similar announcements with both JD Wetherspoon and Pizza Express promising to phase out plastic straws. Also responding to public dismay regarding the overuse of plastic packaging, the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, last month said that he wished to prohibit the use of plastic straws, Sky News has reported.

McDonald's recycling efforts

In the same interview, Paul Pomroy outlined that the company had been on a recycling journey over the past ten years. During that time, it replaced polystyrene and foam packaging with recyclable alternatives. The big mac, for instance, now comes in a clam box made from recycled cardboard. Finding a substitute for the drink lids has been challenging. However, Pomroy explained that the company is working with different suppliers to find a suitable recyclable replacement.

McDonald's has been working hard to portray itself as a supplier of wholesome food, which some may consider an impossible task.

Critics are likely to consider these efforts as a mere marketing ploy to reverse the company's worldwide image decline.

Worldwide drive to combat plastic pollution

Many organisation have been working to convince governments to ban the use of plastic packaging. What's more, tackling plastic pollution has made it onto the list of top priorities for many consumers too. Harrowing images of plastic-packed oceans have been flooding social media platforms.

Replacing plastic packaging as well as educating the public in waste management and recycling is essential if we want to stop the earth from getting flooded with plastic waste.

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