Our Planet

Mcdonald’s australia commits to phasing out current plastic straws

18 July 2019

18 July 2018: McDonald’s Australia has today announced its commitment to phase out existing plastic straws from its 970 restaurants around the country, with completion set for 2020. The company is currently working with local suppliers to find viable alternatives and will start a trial of paper straws in two restaurants from August.

The trial is part of a larger, long-term global effort to identify viable, sustainable alternatives to its current single use plastic straws. It also further supports McDonald’s goals for 100% of guest packaging to be from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025 and to have guest packaging recycling in all restaurants globally.

Robert Sexton, McDonald’s Australia Director of Supply Chain, said, “ As one of the world’s largest restaurant businesses, we know we have the responsibility and opportunity to make significant change. Together with the global business, we have been working for some time to find appropriate alternatives. We know plastic straws is a topic our customers are passionate about and we will find a viable solution.”

Further to its commitments around plastic straws, McDonald’s is currently trialing cup recycling through a partnership with Simply Cups. The trial, which launched in April in eight restaurants, includes segmented dining room bins to separate liquids, plastics, paper cups and general waste.

Robert Sexton said, “Beverage cups are a unique concern when it comes to recycling through normal paper recycling facilities due to the inner plastic lining. By separating the cups through designated bins we can ensure cups are diverted to the right facility to recycle this material. Our trials will provide useful learnings that will help to determine next steps for potential wider restaurant implementation.”

These initiatives are all part of McDonald’s ongoing effort to improve its impact on the environment. You can learn more about the global McDonald’s commitments here: https://corporate.mcdonalds.com/corpmcd/scale-for-good/using-our-scale-for-good.html

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Notes to editors:

McDonald’s Australia continues to make packaging improvements in an effort to reduce the amount of packaging it uses and improve its sustainability. McDonald’s has been the winner of the Australian Packaging covenants QSR high performer award for six consecutive years (2012 – 2017). While the company makes numerous changes each year, some examples include:


Packaging Change

Material Savings in year of



Plastic lids removed from McFlurry cups

48 tonnes of plastic


Replaced plastic salad bowls with a fibre alternative

127 tonnes of plastic


Sundae cups light weighting

72 tonnes of plastic


Introduction of recycled fibre for all take-away bags

replaced use of 1,300 metric tonnes

of virgin fibre with recycled fibre


Changed McCafe coffee cup design

Reduced 328 tonnes of fibre



Target Reached: 100% of fibre based guest packaging will be

sourced from recycled, renewable or certified sources

~ 75% of our guest packaging is fibre


About McDonald’s Australia

Australia’s first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Yagoona, Sydney, in 1971. Today, there are over 950 McDonald’s restaurants across Australia, 80 per cent of which are franchised and run by local businessmen and women. The organisation employs more than 100,000 people in restaurants and corporate offices Australia-wide, and is the largest employer of youth in the country. McDonald’s creates more than 6,000 new jobs each year and spends over $40 million per annum on training and people development. McDonald’s suppliers export $175 million worth of Australian products annually and its restaurants spend more than $1.6 billion on food, packaging and other Australian goods and services each year.

For more information visit www.mcdonalds.com.au or https://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsAU.