In January 2018, McDonald’s made an announcement adding new commitments regarding it's efforts toward sustainability.
By 2025 the restaurant giant plans to switch all their packaging over to renewable or recyclable sources.
McDonald's further announced that recycling will become an option offered in all their restaurants globally. These changes could radically reduce the amount of trash McDonald's produces that now goes directly into their waste receptacles and then to the landfill.
And--as if all that isn't exciting enough--McDonalds also announced that starting in May 2018 they will be changing their straws from plastic to paper in all 1300 of their UK restaurants.
Hopefully, the United States is next. It has been estimated that U.S. citizens alone use 500 million plastic straws daily. McDonald's commitment will make a dent in that number.
Plastic debris has become a huge problem in the ocean as evidenced by The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This stretch of ocean is located in the North Pacific Gyre between the continents of North America and Asia. It is currently three times the size of the United States (not including Alaska and Hawaii) and is full of garbage, most of it plastic. Marine debris is not just an eye sore. It is hazardous to the animals living in the ocean, causing injury and death. Sea turtles are eating plastic balloons they can't digest. Hatchlings are getting trapped inside six pack rings floating in their habitat. Fish are ingesting bits of larger plastic items that have broken into pieces over time.
If we work together, we can slow and perhaps reverse the plastic problem. There are already cities in the U.S. (Seattle and Malibu being two) that have banned plastic straws. Wouldn't it be great if other restaurants followed McDonald's lead!