Fast-food chain McDonald's committed to replacing their plastic straws to paper in a bid to become greener last year, but it has come out this week that their paper straws cannot be recycled due to their thickness and the fact that most recycling plants will not accept food-contaminated products.
This, amongst other alarming statistics has got us asking - will there ever be such a thing as a guilt-free straw?
Research suggests that whilst paper straws decompose faster than plastic ones, they are less energy-efficient to produce and require up to 90% more energy to recycle than plastic. And that doesn't even touch on the freight that it takes to transport them from Asia for use around the world.
And paper straws aren't the only culprit of being presented better than they might be. Biodegradable face wipes for example again decompose quickly, with top brands boasting an impressive 4-week bin-to-nothing life. But again the energy usage to produce such products, plus the gases they release into the atmosphere during the decomposition process slightly deter from these highly-promoted pros.
The bottom line is guilt-free straws, or indeed guilt-free anything, is hard to come by in a world that has formed so many damaging habits. All we can do is make sure that the decisions we make individually are as informed and sensible as possible, weighing up the pros and cons whilst keeping priorities firmly on our ground.
McDonald’s made the switch from plastic straws to paper straws earlier this year in a move to be more eco-friendly. But the fast-food company has admitted their paper straws can’t be recycled - so we look at whether straws are ever guilt-free.