Fast-food outlets to phase out plastics

By Aideen O'Flaherty 

PLASTIC packaging for fast food and takeaway coffee looks set to be a thing of the past, as two major fast-food outlets and South Dublin County Council have separately outlined their commitment to stopping the use of plastic items including coffee cups, straws and burger wrappers.

Last month, fast-food chain McDonald’s announced plans for the plastic straws in all of their Irish restaurants to be replaced with paper straws by September, while Supermac’s, who have an outlet on Tallaght Road, announced last week that they will be using paper straws with immediate effect in all of their outlets.

Plastic Takeaway

In addition to this, Supermac’s will also be introducing 100 per cent recycleable cups and biodegradable burger wrappers as part of their Glan agus Glas (Clean and Green) initiative.

Supermac’s managing director Pat McDonagh said: “We recognise the strain that single-use plastics are having on our environment and that every little bit counts.

“We have already started working with Irish companies in Ennis and Belfast to supply the Glan agus Glas programme and customers will see these changes immediately.

“All of our cups will be 100 per cent recycleable by September, our burger wrap is biodegradable and we will start the process of introducing paper straws immediately.”

Elsewhere, a café located in South Dublin County Council’s County Hall in Tallaght, called Café CoCo, started incentivising customers to bring their own reusable coffee cups last February, by offering a 10 cent discount to anyone who brought their own cup as part of the Conscious Cup campaign.

The council also recently joined together with Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council to launch a new waste-prevention programme, called ‘Don’t be Dick’, which highlights the impact that careless throw-away actions can have on the environment and asks consumers to think about their coffee-drinking habits.

Response "urgently needed"

A spokesperson for the council told The Echo that the local authority has made a submission to the Department of Com-munications, Climate Change and Environment in relation to the proposed introduction of a 15 cent levy on disposable cups.

Minister Katherine Zappone said this week that South Dublin County Council should become the first local authority area to end the use of straws in all fast-food outlets.

Minister Zappone said: “The evidence that plastic is making its way into our waterways, seas and the food chain is now overwhelming. A response is urgently needed.

“It is my hope that our communities could take a lead on this.

“The South Dublin County Council area is impacted by illegal dumping, much of which is plastic.

"This can end up in the water supply and, through eating fish, even into the food chain.

“Concrete and practical measures such as removing plastic straws, cups and cutlery from the hospitality sector are needed.”

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