A McDonald's cup a plastic straw set against a blue sky

Three girls from Hamilton Girls High School are challenging McDonald’s to get rid of plastic straws, although it has been met with little enthusiasm from the fast food giant.

Chelsea West, Haydee Anson and Abbey Huriwai are pushing for McDonald’s to adopt a ‘straw on request’ policy, inspired by recent events in the UK. A petition launched on the website SumOfUs saw McDonald’s restaurants throughout the UK start offering a paper alternative to the single use plastic straw.

New Zealanders use 540 million plastic straws a year, and the girls hope that if McDonald’s begins such a policy, others will follow suit. However, when approached, the girls say McDonald’s brushed them off.

“In February, we started a trial in our Taupō restaurant to reduce single-use straws, which has been well received and supported by customers,” said a McDonald’s spokesperson. “Several years ago, we also ran a waste audit in restaurants, which provided practical measures we could take back of house for recycling and to reduce waste to landfill.”

Anson says that’s not good enough.

“McDonald’s promotes road safety, playgrounds for kids, they sponsor the Olympics, but what are they doing about the environment?”