McDonald’s To Completely Eliminate Straws At its Restaurants?

McDonald's is testing strawless lids out in some markets in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste it produces.

By Brian Scheid | Published

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One of the biggest pushes in corporate America over the last two decades is for companies to be more conscious about reducing their environmental impact on the world as a whole. McDonald’s is taking another step forward in this arena with the attempted elimination of straws being handed out with every beverage that they sell. The chain has begun testing strawless lids for its beverages in select US cities to make its packaging more environmentally friendly.

The goal is to eliminate small plastics from the environment after the products are used and become waste. We are well aware of the hazards that small plastics can pose in harming marine wildlife by either being ingested by marine creatures or by their bodies being ensnarled by these plastics leaving them either deformed in their growth or dead. It is also a major contributor to ocean pollution where the waste that is not properly discarded find its way from our land masses and into our oceans which affects the marine cycle of life that keeps our planet from functioning properly.   

According to CNN Business, “McDonald’s (MCD) set a goal in 2018 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its offices and restaurants by 36% between 2015 and 2030. In 2021, the chain switched out some of its plastic Happy Meal toys for 3-D paper-based toys that customers can put together themselves.” These are a few of the many ways McDonald’s has committed to reducing their environmental footprint worldwide. As one of the largest companies operating on the entire planet, these steps not only help improve the sustainability of our planet but also set a precedent for other companies to follow suit.

The strawless lids which were observed being utilized by McDonald’s in the Minneapolis, Minnesota market as one of the testing grounds closely resemble the sippy lids that Starbucks rolled out back in 2020 to also combat the need for straws to be distributed with its product offerings.  The lid comes with a pull-back tab that the consumer would slot into a small opening to access the beverage inside. When they have consumed the volume of its contents for that serving, the consumer would undo the tab from the slot, and it would return to covering the opening in the lid thus preventing the beverage from splashing out of the container. 

Customers will still be able to request straws if they desire, but the hope is that over time, they would learn to utilize the lids without the straw making the dispensing of these plastics obsolete.  The simple process of not automatically handing out a straw with each beverage will reduce the amount of potential waste by a considerable amount. It is exciting progress to see some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world start to show signs of being on board with making operational changes that will lead to a safer and healthier planet for generations to come.