A London-based newspaper is reporting that the fast food chain McDonald’s is having recycling issues with the new paper straws it began using in place of plastic straws.
In an internal memo obtained by tabloid The Sun, McDonald’s says the new paper straws cannot be recycled and should be thrown in the garbage until further notice.
According to a spokesman for the fast-food chain, the paper straws were strengthened to prevent them from dissolving and the materials are recyclable, but the thickness of the paper straws makes it difficult for them to be processed.
"While the materials are recyclable, their current thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers, who also help us recycle our paper cups," a McDonald's spokesman told Press Association news agency.
Plastics straws have come under fire from environmental groups because they aren’t recycled, and can end up in the environment. US recycling experts have said material recovery facilities are not set up to recover plastic straws, even if the material itself is recyclable.
In an effort to help protect the environment, the new paper straws were introduced last fall and were planned to be rolled out to all 1,361 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland this year, according The Sun.
Chicago-based McDonald’s previously said no feasible alternative exists that can handle its 60 million daily US customers, but it planned to test non-plastic options in some US markets late last year.