In a surprise move on Thursday, McDonald’s shareholders have decided against a petition to remove plastic straws from the over 14 000 restaurants across the United States.
The anti-straw movement in South Africa has been growing momentum, with the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town leading the call for the ban on single use plastics such as straws and plastic bags.
Worldwide interest in “ban the straw”movement is growing
The Aquarium’s anti-straw campaign says that almost 1 billion single-use straws are used and thrown away globally on a daily basis. Most of this plastic ends up in our oceans, where it can have a catastrophic impact on marine life and their habitats.
The anti-straw campaign was quickly joined by South Africa’s largest seafood restaurant chain, Ocean Basket, who have committed to eliminating all take away plastic straws and carrier bags from their restaurants as of January 2018. South African consumers have been eager to see which other chain restaurants would join the fight against plastic waste in our oceans.
In 2017 a petition was started by SumOfUs, a global consumer watchdog, to compel McDonalds to give up the straw. To date the petition has garnered nearly 500 000 signatures.
The tide seemed to be turning, with MacDonald’s UK stating in March 2018 that they are actively looking for straw alternative. In Belgian and British restaurants, the corporation will be trialing paper straws and only offering plastic straws on a request basis.
However, all hopes were dashed this week when the MacDonald’s board voted against the anti-straw campaign by a whopping 92% of voters, with the company stating that the measure was “unnecessary” and “redundant”.
The statement from the McDonald’s board continued: “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”.
A statement from SumOfUs stated that the announcement was “not surprising”.