Taipei, Fast food company McDonald's said Thursday that it will no longer offer plastic straws at its restaurants in Taiwan, with effect from July, in accordance with a government initiative to reduce the use of plastic.
At a press conference, the company said it is phasing in the new plan, starting Friday, by not proactively offering plastic straws at its checkout counters, the company said.
The complete removal of plastic straws at McDonald's restaurants will begin in Taipei on April 22, Earth Day, and will gradually expand to the rest of the country, the company said.
By July, the initiative should be fully implemented throughout Taiwan, McDonald's said.
However, if customers with special needs require straws, the restaurants will provide paper straws upon request, the company said.
The move is being carried out in keeping with a plan by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to ban the use of plastic straws in the government sector and at all public and private schools, department stores, shopping malls and fast food stores, with effect from July 1, according to Lin Li-wen deputy head of supply chain management at McDonald's in Taiwan.
Lin said MacDonald's compliance with the plan will result in a 16 percent reduction in the company's plastic use in Taiwan.
She said McDonald's is hoping that not only will its efforts help reduce the use of plastic straws throughout the country but will also change consumer behavior.
EPA Deputy Minister Shen Chih-hsiu said he welcomed the decision and was pleased to see fast food restaurants responding to the EPA's calls, which will have a positive effect on the marine ecology.
The government's ban on plastic straws is expected to be implemented in phases, extending to all food court services by 2020, requiring payment by customers from 2025, and stopping all use by 2030, according to the EPA.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel