KFC is the latest franchise to announce plans regarding plastic waste, stating that it will eliminate non-reusable/recoverable plastic packaging by 2025. Following Nestle earlier this week and Starbucks before it, KFC will work at transitioning to alternative products in a bid to eliminate its use of plastic bags, straws, cutlery, and cup lids.
KFC revealed the self-imposed deadline as one of two announcements made on Thursday. The company will work with its franchisees on identifying alternatives for common single-use plastics found at fast food locations, including plastic straws and cup lids. The company didn’t provide any particular planned alternatives, though some other companies plan to fill the void with paper straws.
Earth has a plastic problem and single-use consumer plastics like straws and lids only represent part of it. Replacing these items with ones that can be recycled or are biodegradable is a step toward more sustainable human activities, though such transitions alone are not enough to solve the planet’s plastic waste problem.
Last summer, Starbucks announced that it would stop offering single-use straws in its store by 2020 as part of its own effort to eliminate this type of plastic waste. In its place, the company plans to utilize a new type of plastic lid that doesn’t require a straw, as well as compostable and/or paper straws for customers who require them.
Some critics attacked the plan as being reactionary and “fearful,” while others said the elimination of single-use plastic straws would harm disabled individuals who aren’t able to drink directly from cups and may be burned by metal straws. Of course, reusable metal straws with flexible, heat-resistant silicone tips remain available for purchase online.
In addition to its plastic waste announcement, KFC stated that it has achieved its previously announced goal of eliminating “medically important” antibiotics use from its chicken supply in the United States.