Joint media release: Last straw for McDonald’s a win for the environment

24 February 2021

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
The Hon Trevor Evans, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management 

Minister Ley said McDonald’s delivery this week on a pledge, made at the Morrison Government’s 2020 Plastics Summit, to remove 868 metric tonnes of plastic a year from its restaurants was a reminder for all companies and all households to take stock of their use of single use plastics.

More than 512 million plastic straws used per year have now been phased out along with plastic cutlery from all stores.

“We need to cut plastic waste and it is important that more companies step up to the challenge,” Minister Ley said.

“Some items we can simply do without, others can be replaced by more sustainable alternatives and that’s what McDonald’s is doing in this case.”

With some sellers on eBay seeking outlandish prices, as high as $1500 for unused McDonald’s straws, Minister Ley also weighed into the great straw debate.

“On one hand it is a storm in a drink cup but it is a signal for wider change and it is one that many companies are already taking seriously,” Minister Ley said.

“A few years ago some people were trying to hoard filament light bulbs now its plastic straws.

“What we will see in the market place is what we saw then, companies with an incentive to put forward new sustainable alternatives, and that is what we should all be working towards.”

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said that the Morrison Government was committed to reducing waste and transforming the recycling industry.

“A straw might seem a small thing but every company that takes a step like this brings us one step closer to a more sustainable Australia,” Assistant Minister Evans said.