McDonald’s introduce wooden cutlery to save 100 million plastics in one year

The joyful melody of Baby Shark rings a bell, but soon you would notice that there’s something different. As superstar Aaron Kwok is dancing with both hands and singing “doo doo doo, save the earth,” you realise that the lyrics have been changed to promote environmental awareness. 

In the recent video posted by McDonald’s, Baby Sharks, the celebrity among kids with round eyes and big smiles, are dancing with Kwok to celebrate the latest policy introducing wooden tableware. The fast-food conglomerate, which owns 251 restaurants in the city, estimates that the move could save 100 million plastic cutlery in one year.

Targeting Parents and Children

Starting on 22nd September, all McDonald’s restaurants in Hong Kong will introduce disposable wooden products to replace all single-use plastics, including forks, spoons, and knives, to both dine-in and takeaway customers. The company hopes to reduce plastic pollution and raise the public’s environmental awareness.

Baby Shark storybooks teaching kids to protect the planet will be given to customers who buy a Happy Meal. Photo credit: McDonald’s Hong Kong facebook

Besides that, customers who buy a Happy Meal will receive one of the six Baby Shark storybook as a gift. Some books are titled “Straw? No No No”, “Save the Forest”, and “Energy-saving Baby Shark”. This campaign is drawing a lot of parents’ and children’s interests.

The removal of plastics was deemed to be an environmental-friendly policy. Yet, Mark Cheung, the co-founder of the Network of Environmental Student Societies, said “more ambitious actions could be done certainly, with the emerging sustainable business models available in the markets right now.” Some other climate advocates also said that it would be more ideal if restaurants use reusable utensils.

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Customers’ Views

McDonald’s also published a video of Baby Shark and Aaron Kwok singing “no more plastic forks doo doo doo, no more plastic spoons doo doo doo……” on Facebook and successfully caught the eyes of the public – until now, it has 289 comments and 95 shares. A netizen June Law criticised the fast food juggernaut’s move as not helping much: “I am eating corn with a wooden spoon, but the cup is still made of plastic. I don’t know whether I should be angry or laughing.” Another netizen Eric Leung questioned the effectiveness of going green: “using wood? Wouldn’t it kill many trees?”

However, Mr. Chan, a McDonald’s patron, welcomed the eaterie’s effort in tackling plastic waste, “it’s good and a step forward. It’s more impactful when a great business tries to do something good for the environment. But I think the wooden cutlery is not well-designed. For example, the spoon is too flat for use, but it’s not a big deal. I can tolerate that.”

Wooden cutlery provided by McDonald’s Hong Kong. Photo credit: Dawna Fung

Government’s Policy

Last year, the Hong Kong government said it was planning to ban all types of disposable plastic tableware at restaurants from 2025. According to the data provided by officials, around 200 tonnes of plastic tableware are being thrown away each day. About 14.6 billion pieces of plastic cutlery were sent to landfill sites. Experts said the plastic pollution was worsening since the outbreak of Covid-19 resulting in a surge of takeaway services.

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