May 25, 2018

While the rest of the world is trying its darndest to veer away from plastic straws, McDonald’s priorities lie elsewhere.

According to a recent report from, the fastfood giant’s shareholders decidedly voted against a proposal to phase out single use plastic straws from their 36,000 locations worldwide. The vote took place last Thursday, May 17, during McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting. The proposal only gained 7.65% in support.

It’s also been reported that the restaurant group’s board of directors strongly encouraged the shareholders to vote against the plastic straw ban. The reason they cited? It’ll be a distraction.

The material shared by the board of directors to the shareholders prior the meeting cites the proposal unnecessary. It explains in length how banning plastic straws in their restaurants is “redundant to our current practices and initiatives, and has the potential for a diversion of resources with no corresponding benefit to the company, our customers, and our shareholders, particularly in light of our ongoing packaging sustainability efforts.

In other words, banning plastic straws will be getting in the way of their other plans to “be sustainable” through more environment-friendly packaging.

Some might say this justifies McDonald’s shareholders’ vote. Some might take this to mean that the restaurant group is just meeting their “environment-friendly” quota, and refuses to do more.

Meanwhile, all McDo branches in the U.K. have been undergoing a phase out process for their plastic straws following the announcement of the country’s ban on plastic drinking straws. This May, Vancouver, Canada also passed a straw prohibition law, and Seattle will be following suit come this July.

It seems like, McDo will have no choice to to take the baby steps to banning plastic straws. So, is it really that much of a stretch to go all the way?

Photos courtesy of


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TAGS: business Fastfood fixture mcdonald's Straw sustainability sustainable living UK US