McDonald’s unveils new ‘evolved’ paper straws in Europe-wide sustainability trials

MCDONALD’S are to trial a series of environmentally positive changes across their European franchises.

The trials form part of the fast food chain’s ‘Better M’ initiative, which aims to bring sustainability to Mcdonald’s whilst still maintaining good customer experience.

Selected UK McDonald’s restaurants will have a take back scheme implemented, where customers can return used kids’ meal toys to be recycled. The cardboard McFlurry packaging that has replaced the plastic variation in the UK since June will also roll out across Europe – with wooden and paper McFlurry spoons also being trialled.

Elsewhere, plastic toys will be swapped for paper masks in Happy Meals in the Netherlands, after a successful trial in Belgium. Fibre lids will be used on drinks cups in France, ice cream packaging will be made from edible waffle in Ukraine, and German McDonald’s will trial a ‘ReCup’ scheme where customers are offered a reusable drinks cup that they return to be washed, cleaned and reused at a later date.

The American chain also announced that it will trial an ‘evolved’ version of its controversial paper straw. McDonald’s strengthened the straws earlier this year, after feedback showed that customers were unhappy with straws disintegrating before their drink could be finished. As a result, the straws could no longer be recycled, with a McDonald’s spokesperson saying, “…their current thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers.” The firm insists that the new straws are stronger and made out of fully recyclable materials.

Keith Kenny, vice president of global sustainability at McDonald’s, said on the announcement of the trials, “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. Better M is a powerful platform to allow us to work with our customers and choose the right solutions to scale up across Europe.”