• Phased rollout of paper straws to McDonald’s 29 restaurants in Northern Ireland will begin from September this year, with completion set for 2019
  • All restaurants have already taken steps to move plastic straws behind the counter, with new recycling facilities available at all Experience of the Future restaurants
  • McDonald’s confirms that Huhtamaki, a long-standing supplier in Northern Ireland, will be a supply partner

McDonald’s UK and Ireland will begin the process of transferring to paper straws in its restaurants from September. Customers in trial restaurants have reacted positively to the change, with the majority supporting a move to paper straws as part of wider efforts to protect the environment.  At the start of the trials, the business also took the decision to move plastic straws behind the counter in all its restaurants to reduce plastic waste and put the decision for use in the hands of the customer.

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said:  “Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws but to do so without compromising their overall experience when visiting our restaurants.  Over the past few months we’ve been working closely with supplier partners to find a solution that works both for our customers, and that the supply is there given the size of our business.

McDonald’s has continued to invest in recycling facilities in all restaurants as part of its Experience of the Future transformation programme. The multi-million-pound investment made by McDonald’s, together with its franchisees, has upgraded kitchens and placed new technology such as self-order screens at the heart of the restaurant experience, enabling innovations like table service, click-and-collect ordering and McDelivery.

McDonald’s supply of paper straws in the UK will be met by two suppliers:

  • Huhtamaki: a Finnish-based packaging supplier that has worked with McDonald’s for over 30 years. Huhtamaki will produce the straws at its UK plant in Northern Ireland.
  • Transcend Packaging: Wales-based start-up focused on sustainable packaging;

Paper used by both suppliers will come from certified sources, endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

This move in the UK supports McDonald’s goal to source 100% of guest packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025 and to have guest packaging recycling in all restaurants globally.

“McDonald’s is committed to using our scale for good and working to find sustainable solutions for plastic straws globally,” said Francesca DeBiase Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain and Sustainability. “In addition to the exciting news from the U.K. today, we are testing straw alternatives in other countries to provide the best experience for our customers. We hope this work will support industry wide change and bring sustainable solutions to scale.”

In addition to tests that began earlier this year in the U.K., we have also begun testing alternatives to plastic straws in Belgium.  Later this year, we will begin testing alternatives in select restaurants in the U.S., France, Sweden and Norway. In addition to testing alternative materials, in several markets including Malaysia, we will begin tests to offer straws upon request only. We are eager to learn from these tests around the world to develop solutions that are scalable across the globe.