McDonald's Taiwan to end use of plastic straws by June

McDonald's Taiwan to stop serving plastic straws with drinks by June

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Woman drinking out of straw at McDonald's.

Woman drinking out of straw at McDonald's. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- McDonald's Taiwan today announced that in response to the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) planned ban on the use of single-use plastic drinking straws, all restaurants in the country will stop serving plastic straws, with paper ones provided to those with special needs, such as children.

At a press conference today, McDonald's Taiwan announced that starting Friday (April 12), it will begin promoting a campaign called "drink cold drinks directly," regardless of whether it is for taking out or eating inside the restaurant. The fast-food chain said that staff will no longer proactively provide straws at the checkout counter.

McDonald's also expects that on Earth Day on April 22, Taipei restaurants will complete their ban on plastic straws. The company said that plastic straws will be completely phased out across Taiwan by June.

However, for people with special needs, such as children, paper straws will be provided instead.

Vice President of Supply Chain Management at McDonald's in Taiwan, Lin Li-wen (林麗文), said that he hoped that the new policy would not only result in the use of fewer straws but would also change consumer behavior. Lin said that instead of being supplied with plastic straws, consumers will be encouraged to drink directly from their cups.

Lin estimated that the phasing out of straws will reduce plastic waste by 16 percent. Lin also pointed out that the new "drink cold drinks directly" campaign is currently only being implemented in the Taiwan market.

Lin expressed the hope that the change in consumer behavior at its restaurants can help motivate everyone to join together in reducing plastic.

Shen Chih-hsiu (沈志修), deputy director of the Executive Yuan's Environmental Protection Administration, told CNA that the discontinuation of the use of plastic straws would have a positive impact on marine ecology. Whether its fast food restaurants or other companies that will be subject to the first phase of the ban on plastic straws, responding together in this way is great.

Shen said that as there are still some doubts about the effectiveness of the total ban on plastic straws, it is still in a preliminary stage, and more discussion is needed.