If the biggest companies and corporations don’t set an example, will everybody else stop caring about plastic waste too? Fast food giant McDonalds recently refused to produce a report on their use of plastic straws. After months of pressure from activist group SumOfUs, McDonald’s have been feeling the strain recently. However, no sign of a report has been seen, suggesting they are hiding the effect they have on plastic waste worldwide.
Though pledging to ensure all plastic waste by 2025 comes from “renewable, recycled or certified sources”, the mega-corporation is currently refusing to provide information on their plastic straw usage and waste. As the biggest fast food company in the world, the impact McDonald’s has on the environment is monumental. By adopting a no-nonsense stance on plastic waste, they would set an example for the rest of the food industry, if not the world.
By refusing to announce their plastic straw waste, they are hiding the true effect they are having on the environment. Through fear of scrutiny, this refusal to be transparent with their plastic waste is not encouraging people to change. The only way customers around the world will be encouraged to make a change, and think before they pick up a plastic straw is if they are informed of the damage and negative consequences of their choices.
After Blue Planet II hit the screens, the general public was shocked into making changes. However, unless big businesses like McDonald’s pledge to make a change, the individual’s every day small changes will not be enough. A collaborative effort is required from both individuals, and big businesses with the weight and influence to make a change. McDonald’s is one of those businesses. If we can make environmentally-conscious decisions at Billi, we expect the same from those around us.
According to the McDonald’s board, “The requested report is unnecessary, redundant to our current practices and initiatives, and has the potential for a diversion of resources with no corresponding benefit to the company, our customers, and our shareholders”.
Currently, McDonald’s are testing a phase-out of plastic straws throughout the UK. Unfortunately, though, its biggest presence is within the US. A world-wide pledge to phase out plastic straws would be the only thing that could make a real difference to global plastic waste. Within the UK and Belgium, alternatives are being tested. However, will it be too little too late before these changes are put in place permanently?
Our suggestion here at Billi is to try and use metal, bamboo or recyclable straws wherever possible. If you’re drinking a soft drink, pour it into a reusable Billi bottle – and reduce the need for a straw. Taking your own straw with you is a small change to make. But, it could make a big difference in the long-term. Straws take around 500 years to decompose. At the rate we’re going, plastic will be the one legacy humans leave behind. What a shame that would be.