McDonald's Should Ban Plastic Straws!

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Ever since the mass production of plastic started in the 1950's, the world has produced at least 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic. An estimated only 9% of that has been recycled, meaning that 91% of that 8.3 billion tons ended up in landfill or as litter in oceans. Every year in the world, 335 billion tons of plastic are produced, with very little actually getting recycled. If we do not start to change it is very likely that by 2050, there will be more plastic waste in the ocean than fish, ton by ton.  It is already estimated that a quarter of all fish are living with plastic inside of them.  

In the United States alone, we use and throw out 500 million plastic straws every single day.  Many people think that straws are recyclable, in fact 80% of the 100 McDonald's customers we asked believed that they are recyclable. Unfortunately, plastic straws are often too lightweight to recycle and actually can contaminate whole recycling batches.  McDonald's is extremely popular, feeding about 68 million people per day.  Many people get a drink with a straw, so by converting to biodegradable paper straws, McDonalds could be saving millions of straws from the ocean every day.  McDonald's in the UK and in Ireland have pledged to convert to paper straws by 2019, however McDonald's in America just voted against the change to paper straws.  

Paper straws are a great alternative because they decompose in only 2 to 6 weeks, compared to the 500 year life expenctancy of a plastic straw.  This means that there would not be paper straws polluting the water, rather they would decompose before posing as a risk to marine life.  Many people ask, why not just ditch straws in general?  While ditching straws all together would most certainly help with the pollution problem in our oceans, it just simply is not feasible. People with certain disabilities may require a straw in order to drink.   The paper straw eliminates millions of plastic straws that would have ended up in the ocean, but still accommodates everybody's individual needs making it the new future of drinking.

A link to our full survey results where we surveyed 100 McDonald's customers can be found here: