McDonald's Canada

McDonald’s Canada turns upcycled plastic straws into art

McDonald’s Canada is looking to show that not only does upcycling plastic help the environment, but it can turn into something beautiful too.

The fast-food giant has turned its phased-out plastic straws into a series of original works of art by a cross-country group of Canadian and Indigenous artists.

The 15 participating artists have been using trays made with upcycled McDonald’s plastic straws as a canvas to display their custom designs that reflect the artists’ diverse perspectives on sustainability and the environment.

McDonald’s restaurants in Canada have been transitioning to using paper straws instead of plastic straws since last year, as well as removing other single-use plastics, namely plastic cutlery and stir sticks.

The Rogerie, a Canadian company specializing in making everyday products from post-consumer plastics, worked closely with McDonald’s Canada to transform these plastic straws into the artwork.

Participating artists include:

  • West: Nicole Wolf, Ray Dak Lam, Jarett Sitter, Tierney Milne, Justin Currie, Chris Morin, Monika Melnychuk
  • Ontario: Rachel Joanis, Mateusz Napieralski, Ryan Pooman
  • Quebec: Genevieve Andersen, Anne-Julie Dudemaine
  • East: Kirsten Stackhouse, Bella Seonyoung Heo, Elana Camille

Once complete, the individually designed, limited edition trays will be donated to local Ronald McDonald House Charities Houses across Canada. Houses may keep the tray on display for the families to enjoy, or they may choose to auction off the tray for fundraising purposes. 

Learn more about the artists, the inspiration for their specially designed artwork, and the making of the Last Straw trays here.

“In the spirit of reducing waste being sent to landfill, we challenged ourselves to find an inventive and out-of-the-box way to give some of these plastic straws a ‘second act’,” said Gemma Pryor, Senior Director – Canada Impact Team, McDonald’s Canada. “Thanks to these artists, they can live on as something beautiful.

The move is part of an ongoing initiative to meet McDonald’s global packaging commitment and aligns with the Canadian government’s desire to eliminate single-use plastics from foodservice and other environments.

The company’s commitment includes sourcing 100 per cent of its primary guest packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by the end of 2025.

It says that removing plastic cutlery, stir sticks. and straws will remove approximately 700 tonnes of plastics from the Canadian system annually, approximately 370 tonnes of which are attributed to plastic straws.