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McDonald’s adopts eco-friendly cutlery in West and South India

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McDonald’s now gives customers wooden cutlery—spoons, stirrers, knives and forks—instead of plastic ones, a move that comes following Maharashtra’s plastic ban

MUMBAI: McDonald’s restaurants in West and South India have switched over from plastic straws, cups and cutlery to wooden cutlery and paper straws and cups, Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd, the master franchisee for fast food chain said on Friday.

The announcement comes on the eve of Maharashtra’s ban on plastics from 23 June.

“With the move to biodegradable and non-plastic alternatives, we will be able to reduce about 200 tonnes of plastic per year, from Maharashtra and key cities in Karnataka,” a spokesperson for the world’s largest restaurant chain said. Maharashtra is the second state after Karnataka to enforce a ban on plastics.

The franchise has 277 restaurants across the west and south, with 122 in Maharashtra and 57 in Karnataka.

McDonald’s now gives customers wooden cutlery—spoons, stirrers, knives and forks—instead of plastic ones. The plastic cups have been replaced by superior quality paper cups. And the straws are either made of paper or other biodegradable materials that are derived from corn starch, the company said.

On an average, Maharashtra consumes 36,000 tonnes of plastic bags per annum. Of this carry bags make up 8,000 tonnes and the balance comes from packing bags like shirt bags, industrial packaging and mono-layer food packaging bags, according to Neemit Punamiya, general secretary, Plastic Bag Manufacturers Association of India.

The manufacture of plastic bags is a Rs10,000-15,000 crore industry employing 300,000 people. This will come to a standstill following the ban in Maharashtra, said Punamiya adding that the association is in discussions with the state government to have a sunset clause to make the switchover to manufacturing alternatives. These discussions though haven’t concluded, he said.

However, McDonald’s along with restaurant associations has requested an exemption from the plastic ban for delivery and takeaway orders. “The company is working on alternative solutions for its delivery segment that can ensure safe and fresh food is delivered without spillage,” the company said.

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