McDonald's brought in "eco-friendly" straws last year amid a wider backlash against single-use plastic. Picture: AP

London - Families are being urged to stop using straws completely if they want to be ethical – after it emerged the paper ones at McDonald’s cannot be recycled.

The fast food chain brought in the "eco-friendly" versions last year amid a wider backlash against single-use plastic. But customers complained that the paper straws became soggy – so the chain decided to make them thicker.

This had the unintended consequence that they now cannot be recycled with normal paper waste, which means they should be put in the general rubbish bin and sent to landfill or be burned for energy. 

Friends of the Earth said the issue could be avoided by simply doing without a straw. A spokesperson said: "Lips have been a waste-free alternative to straws for millions of years."

McDonald’s said the thicker paper straws have been introduced temporarily while it finds another solution.

Alternatives to paper straws include bamboo, glass and stainless steel.

Daily Mail