McDonald’s has created swimwear in its iconic red and yellow striped design from its plastic straws. McDonald’s has often been criticized for its promotion of throwaway culture and specifically, its reliance on single-use plastics. In 2017, it came under renewed criticism for using plastic straws in its restaurants (a SumOfUs petition in the U.S. gained nearly 500,000 signatures in protest).
In 2018, the company announced a switch to paper straws in Ireland and the U.K. but ironically, these appeared to be less recyclable than the old plastic straws. A spokesperson for the company explained to CNBC at the time that the straws “cannot currently be processed by waste solution providers or local authorities unless collected separately.”
Additionally, two British children started a change.org petition to campaign for less plastic toys in Happy Meals which was signed by 568,211 supporters, which also helped to highlight the need to remove single-use plastic.