A Reddit user recently posted a photo showing one way a restaurant is addressing single-use plastic straws and lids.
In their post, the Redditor shows a range of soft drinks all covered in paper lids with optional paper straws at what appears to be a MAX Burgers location. On its website, the Swedish fast-food chain says it strives to “minimize the business’ effects on the environment” and has taken multiple steps to reduce its impact, including these paper cups.
Some Redditors seemed unpleased with the restaurant’s switch, saying that paper straws can lose their firmness after a while.
“I’m no fan of paper straws, but the paper lid is at least consistent,” another user wrote. “Good on them.”
But most Redditors chimed in to say that the paper lids seemed “much nicer” than plastic drink containers.
“They feel nicer to use, and can just be chucked into compost. And I’ve never had one disintegrate on me,” they wrote.
“Saw they switched it [to] this a little while ago,” another said of the burger chain in the Redditor’s photo, “and was genuinely impressed that someone finally went the full mile with the whole paper thing.”
Another Redditor said paper straws are pretty common in Europe now and they’re getting easier to use.
“I feel like they improved since they first came out,” the user wrote.
Alternatives to plastic straws and lids have become an increasingly hot topic in recent years as consumers, businesses, and governments work to address the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and human health.
Plastic straws, in particular, have come under intense scrutiny due to their negative impact on marine life and the environment — plastic straws make up about 1% of all plastic floating in the world’s oceans.
Plastic straws and lids are typically made from nonbiodegradable plastic, which means they can take hundreds of years to break down. This has serious consequences for wildlife and marine ecosystems when plastic straws and lids are discarded improperly, as they can end up in waterways and oceans where they can be ingested by marine animals.
This can also lead to serious health problems for our aquatic life. Sea turtles, for example, are known to mistake plastic straws for food, which can lead to choking and suffocation.
A growing number of alternatives are making their way into circulation, including the paper alternatives the Redditor showed off in the image. Paper straws and lids are biodegradable in most cases, taking only a few weeks to break down fully.
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