Some McDonald’s customers in the UK are outraged over the company’s new paper straws as the fast food chain decided to ditch plastic straws over concerns of plastic pollution in the environment.
The company’s effort to make their food service more sustainable backfired with some customers who complained that the paper straws that McDonald’s had supplied were unusable. The customers claimed that their paper straws were dissolving into their drinks, according to Fox News.
McDonald’s is in the process of rolling out paper straws across all its 1,361 locations in the UK and Ireland. According to the BBC, the fast food chain in the UK alone hands out 1.8 million straws each day to its four million customers.
Martin Reed started a petition called “Bring back McDonalds Straws” a week ago, seeking 40,000 signatures to ask McDonald’s to go back to its original plastic straws. As of Thursday, the petition has over 37,000 signatures.
Paper straws don’t seem to be the solution. pic.twitter.com/dJnQB9jA6Q
— Tatham Smith ????✏️ (@TathamSmith) April 20, 2019
“Here like I’m grand about paper straws but mc Donald’s ones are like sucking up from a newspaper [sic],” tweeted Siobhan O’hara.
“I know it’s to save the turtles etc but has anyone tried drinking a McDonald’s milkshake through the paper straws? even more annoying it’s got a plastic lid they could have swapped them around [sic],” tweeted Lacey Fuller.
“Paper straws are annoying because they usually break in half like 3 sips in, but hey just take the lid off and drink it straight out the cup bc the seaturtles need saving [sic],” tweeted @bandcalledhappy.
Don’t get me wrong… I KNOW it’s for the environment and all BUT there’s nothing more I HATE in the world than PAPER STRAWS!! Ugh.
They literally dissolve away as you’re trying to drink.
— Lenny S (@kodaklens) April 19, 2019
McDonald’s customers also tweeted out photos of bent and broken, flimsy looking paper straws stuck in McDonald’s cups and lids to prove their point.
Back to the drawing board @McDonaldsUK your paper straws are a fail. They collapse and taste awful. What about stopping all useless plastic toys in your happy meals too? #paperstrawfail pic.twitter.com/P3YoIAUYaS
— Maguire Family Law (@divorcexpert) April 20, 2019
The McDonald’s UK Twitter feed has been replying to customer questions, giving a stock reply that would have been disappointing to some and hopeful to others.
In earlier news about the rollout, McDonald’s said it would still have plastic straws available for those who want to request one.
“We completely understand your concerns and can reassure you that whilst paper straws will be introduced to all restaurants, we’ll be working on retaining an alternative option for those that require one,” wrote McDonald’s UK in many Twitter replies.
We completely understand your concerns and can reassure you that whilst paper straws will be introduced to all restaurants, we’ll be working on retaining an alternative option for those that require one.
— McDonald’s UK (@McDonaldsUK) April 24, 2019
“We’re pleased to announce that from May we’ll be trialling paper straws in restaurants and moving our recyclable plastic straws behind the counter,” wrote McDonald’s UK News in a tweet over a year ago.
The tweet came around the same time that the UK government announced that it would be the first country to introduce a nationwide ban on single-use plastic straws and similar plastic products.
The change in the company’s straw practice also came after UK McDonald’s head Paul Pomroy warned that McDonald’s in the UK would have to continue to innovate or face financial squeeze.
“Food inflation is running at between 4% and 7% across retail, there’s pressure on wage inflation, interest rate movements and now you are seeing businesses becoming less brave in their decision-making,” Pomroy said via Sky News. “For retailers, to be successful, you have got to keep changing and look to disrupt the market yourselves before you are disrupted.”
Just at @McDonalds and this is the first time I’ve tried a drink with a paper straw. I must say it’s not amazing but not bad either. I can taste the texture of the straw (cardboard taste) but I still get the nice taste of my drink so why people complain? pic.twitter.com/wz1gqxCrNt
— ???? Barton ???? (@DynamicBarton) April 22, 2019
Pomroy said the change in straw material is another step in an ongoing process.
“We’ve been on a journey over the past 10 years with recycling, from taking out foam and polystyrene to where we are now – with Big Mac ‘clam’ boxes that are made with recycled board,” Pomroy told Sky News. “The only thing left for us to move forward on are the lids that go on to our cups. Those are complicated, but we’re working with our suppliers to find a solution to that.”