McDonald’s says its new eco-friendly paper straws cannot be recycled and instead are being placed in general waste.
The fast-food giant said while the straw material is recyclable, the thickness of them makes it difficult for recycling centers to process, according to BBC.
“As a result of customer feedback, we have strengthened our paper straws, so 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 the news outlet.
The announcement comes after McDonald’s restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland switched from plastic to paper straws.
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The company did, however, say it was working towards a solution for its recycling dilemma, so placing the straws in the trash is only temporary.
McDonald’s reportedly uses 1.8 million straws a day in the United Kingdom alone.
“This waste from our restaurants does not go to landfill, but is used to generate energy,” McDonald’s also noted.
Most straws, including those McDonald’s uses throughout the U.S., are made of materials that, if not recycled, can take hundreds of years to decompose. Several companies in America have switched to paper straws or are not offering plastic ones unless requested.
Additionally, several cities, most notably San Francisco, have passed bans on the single-use plastic product.