Seven-year-old from Arlesey sets up petition asking McDonald’s to use recycled paper straws instead of plastic ones

Seven-year-old Meredith Moss from Arlesey has launched a petition to try to persuade McDonald's to u

Seven-year-old Meredith Moss from Arlesey has launched a petition to try to persuade McDonald's to use recycled paper straws rather than plastic ones. - Credit: Archant

A seven-year-old environmentalist is determined to ‘take action now to protect the future’ – and has set up a petition asking fast food giant McDonald’s to swap its one-use plastic straws for recycled paper ones.

The petition launched by Meredith Moss, addressed to McDonald’s UK boss Paul Pomroy, has gathered more than 600 signatures in a fortnight, and Meredith has also expressed her concerns about plastic waste to Arlesey mayor Mick Holloway.

Meredith, who is home-schooled and lives in the town, wrote in her petition: “Plastic straws make up a huge amount of the waste that is damaging sea life.

“Plastic waste in the sea is degraded slightly by the sun, and small particles drift down and hang in the water. These get eaten by sea life causing damage and death.

“Phytoplankton cannot reproduce or survive in these conditions. Phytoplankton produce oxygen that is essential for our planet so we need to protect them.

“If plastic straws weren’t freely available it would be much better for the environment.

“If a big company like McDonald’s could lead the way then others might follow. We need to take action now to protect the future.”

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The petition began after Meredith saw a talk on plastic waste by TV presenter The Blowfish – who bills himself as a ‘heavy metal marine biologist’ – at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham.

Meredith’s mum Shona Moss said: “She talks about this all the time. She makes posters to save animals and tell people to stop littering.

“She wrote to our mayor to ask if anything could be done to get businesses to reduce the amount of plastic waste they give customers.

“Then she said to me: ‘Don’t McDonald’s and Burger King use plastic straws, mummy?’

“We decided to start a petition, so we went online and she wrote in her own words – I helped tidy it up.

“In particular I helped with the spelling of ‘phytoplankton’.”

They set a target of 1,000 signatures – ‘she said that would be about half the world,’ said Shona – and two weeks on more than 600 supporters have signed from as far away as France, Australia and the USA.

Peter Foord from North Herts Friends of the Earth said: “Plastic waste is a huge environmental problem, so we’d definitely support a move towards using recycled paper alternatives, where feasible.

“I think McDonald’s and other fast food outlets could be doing a lot more to minimise the amount of waste they generate, and to recycle more of what they do produce. Too much of it currently ends up as litter polluting the natural environment.”

A spokesman for the organisation’s central office added: “It’s great to see young people campaigning to protect the environment. Good luck to Meredith and her battle to cut waste.”

You can see Meredith’s petition by going to the change.org website and searching for Meredith Moss.

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