Burger King unveils plan to phase-out plastic straws

Burger King has announced that it will roll out compostable straws in its UK restaurants this year as it works to make all its packaging recyclable, biodegradable or compostable by 2025.

The straw ban will reduce Burger King's annual plastic output in the UK by 29 tonnes

The straw ban will reduce Burger King's annual plastic output in the UK by 29 tonnes

The fast food chain will roll out the new straws at all 500 of its UK restaurants by September 2018 in a move that will cut the brand’s plastic use by 29 tonnes each year, reducing its total annual plastic output by 36%.

“Packaging helps us to provide guests with the same great tasting, quality food that they expect from us, however we are aware of the negative impact that plastics in particular can have,” Burger King’s chief financial officer, Tim Doubleday, said.

“We are firmly committed to making a real difference and increasing the recyclability of the materials we use, as well as helping our customers to dispose of packaging more responsibly.”

Burger King will also run trials where customers will only be given straws and cup lids on request this July, with a view to a wider rollout depending on the results. During the tests, which will take place in 70 restaurants, customers will be given information in-store on why they should decrease their plastic output.

Additionally, Doubleday has announced he will be joining the environmental leadership team at charity Business in the Community (BITC) in a bid to drive sector-wide change and ensure Burger King sets ambitious environmental targets.

“Burger King’s commitment on plastic straws and its wider commitment to customer packaging is a welcome step towards tackling the challenge,” BITC’s environment director, Gudrun Cartwright, said. “As we begin to see more large-scale businesses like Burger King act on plastic waste, momentum will build and we will start to reverse the tide.’’

No more clutching at straws

The announcement was issued on World Oceans Day, where Burger King was joined by a host of businesses in launching or reaffirming commitments to combatting plastics pollution.

Burger King is the latest high-profile brand in the food and drink sector to announce plans to phase out single-use plastic straws from its restaurants as campaigners and politicians grow increasingly concerned about the damaging build-up of plastic waste in oceans.

Earlier this year, McDonald’s unveiled plans to replace its straws with paper alternatives and make them available only on request, while the likes of Costa, Wetherspoon and Nando’s have also agreed to phase-out plastic straw use in some shape or form.

The move to ban plastic straws has also been widespread in the hospitality sector, with pledges from corporates including Hilton,  Hotel du Vin and AccorHotels, while London City Airport, Heathrow and Eurostar have followed suit in the mobility sector. 

Sarah George


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packaging | plastics waste

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Waste & resource management
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