McDonald's Japan have adopted eco-friendly straws and utensils
McDonald's Japan will switch to paper straws and wooden utensils at all locations, a move that the fast-food restaurant business anticipates would reduce 900 tonnes of plastic trash annually.
As supplies at its about 2,900 outlets countrywide run out, the chain will stop providing plastic straws and forks.
The McDonald's decision, which comes after Japan passed a rule in April intended to minimise single-use plastics, broadens the restaurant industry's efforts to strike a balance between quick, affordable service and sustainability.
In February, 30 test locations in Kanagawa Prefecture, close to Tokyo, started McDonald's transition away from plastic. Since then, no restaurants in the chain's around 310 locations in the prefectures of Kanagawa and Kyoto use plastic straws or utensils. There are few exceptions made for convenience and safety, such as straws developed specifically for kids.
In 2021 alone, the corporation disposed of around 6,500 tonnes of plastic waste from its restaurants in Japan. Included in the expected 900 tonnes reduction are take-home goods.
In the UK and other areas, McDonald's has already made the switch to paper straws. The firm has announced actions on plastics in Japan that are in line with locations in other nations, such as employing renewable materials for Happy Meal toys by the end of 2025.
Similar efforts are being made by several national chains. Coca-Cola chilled beverages in Japan stopped coming with plastic caps. Mos Burger, a McDonald's competitor with 1,250 locations in Japan, began using spoons and forks made of biomass plastic produced from rice.
Small and medium pubs and restaurants "have not made much progress," according to Seiichiro Samejima, chief analyst at Ichiyoshi Research Institute in Tokyo, whereas large restaurant chains are making efforts to limit plastic consumption.
Businesses must make steps to decrease single-use plastics by more than 5 tonnes annually in accordance with Japan's new plastics regulation.