With the growing concern over plastic waste, many Japanese food and restaurant chains are stepping up to the plate with efforts to reduce plastics. For example, convenience store chain FamilyMart repackaged their rice balls to reduce plastic use, MINISTOP replaced plastic spoons with edible ones in their desserts, and Starbucks Japan began swapping out plastic cups for glass for in-store beverages.

Today, McDonald's Corporation announced that it will launch a nationwide initiative in which paper straws and wooden spoons, forks, knives, and muddlers are provided at McDonald's branches in Japan from October 7th, 2022.

According to its press release, McDonald's has made a global commitment to change all customer packaging to renewable, recycled, or certified materials by the end of 2025, and is working toward a more environmentally friendly and sustainable society.

McDonald's Japan has been developing straws and other alternatives to plastic, taking into consideration not only the environment, but also taste, safety, and ease of use. Currently, paper straws and wooden spoons, forks, knives, and muddlers made from environmentally friendly FSC®-certified paper and wood have already been introduced in all stores in Kanagawa and Kyoto prefectures in advance of the nationwide implementation.

By switching from plastic to paper straws and wooden spoons, forks, knives, and muddlers at approximately 2,900 stores nationwide, the company estimates that it will reduce the use of plastic by approximately 900 tons per year.

TOP: McDonald's wooden utensils and paper straw BOTTOM: In-store sign explaining the change. | © McDonald's ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

McDonald's Japan intends to continue to listen to customer feedback and actively develop environmentally friendly utensils and packaging as it strives to help establish a sustainable society and pursue its mission to provide "delicious food and smiles to everyone in the community."

Some items, such as straws for children, straws for McShake®, spoons for certain products and straws attached to milk cartons will continue to be provided in plastic.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.