A long-running campaign to eventually remove plastic straws from all McDonald’s restaurants has hit another set-back.
McDonald’s shareholders have rejected a proposal for the fast-food chain to report on its use of plastic straws, seen as a major blow to an environmental campaign to completely ban them.
At its annual general meeting in the village of Oak Brook in the US state of Illinois, the proposal to report on the risks posed by plastic straws received just 7.65 per cent of the vote.
The proposal was hoped to have been the first step to eventually scrapping the items altogether.
Prior to the vote, McDonald’s management had recommended against the measures.
"The requested report is unnecessary, 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," the board said.
95 million straws a day
Consumer advocacy group SumOfUs backed the shareholder proposal to report on and ultimately ditch the straws. It claimed McDonald’s distributes more than 95 million single-use straws worldwide every day.
"Although many of you may see plastic straws as a harmless little item, they soon add up and their size means they pose a particular hazard,” member Dr Elaine Leung said at the meeting.
Nearly half a million people have signed an online petition by SumOfUs to urge McDonald’s to remove the items from their packaging.
McDonald’s executives told shareholders it already has a goal to be completely ‘green’ by 2025, with all “guest packaging” – including straws – to come from renewable, recycled or certified sources.
A SumOfUs spokesperson reportedly said the result at the annual meeting was “not surprising”.