American fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s has revealed its ‘eco-friendly’ paper straws cannot be recycled, according to a report by The Sun.

McDonald’s switched from recyclable plastic straws in all its UK branches to push its sustainability efforts. The move saw the chain dump 1.8 million plastic straws used by its UK branches each year.

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The report revealed through an internal memo that the paper straws must be binned and burned.

An insider told the Sun: “When McDonald’s introduced paper straws it was getting pats on the back for being environmentally responsible.

“But it seems like it was a stunt to appease green campaigners because the things go straight in the rubbish. It’s ridiculously stupid.”

A petition, created by a disgruntled McDonald’s customer, to bring back plastic straws has so far garnered over 51,000 signatures.

One customer tweeted: “McDonald’s bowed to public pressure over their recyclable plastic straws and now only have paper ones, which they admit aren’t recyclable. This is so 2019. We are such a bunch of idiots. Being seen to be apparently doing good is better than doing good.”

Another added: “So McDonald’s got rid of plastic straws and made us drink out of the soggy paper ones, just to tell us a year later that the paper ones aren’t even recyclable but the plastic ones are! I feel betrayed.”

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said: “We strengthened our paper straws so, while the materials are recyclable, their thickness makes it difficult for them to be processed by our waste solution providers. We’re working with them to find a solution so putting paper straws in general waste is therefore temporary.”

Paper straw usage continues to rise to replace plastic alternatives

Due to sustainability efforts and added customer concerns, many companies have replaced their use of plastic straws with paper alternatives.

Earlier this year, Purdue University Dining and Catering completed its transition from plastic straws to paper straws across its residential and retail outlets.

Global food packaging specialist Huhtamaki switched to sustainable paper straws in an effort to enable customers to switch.

Coca-Cola Amatil Australia announced that it will distribute biodegradable Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited recyclable paper straws, ending its distribution of single-use plastic straws and stirrers.