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Hoping for the Last Straw

639 Kentucky Fried Chicken Outlets Across Indonesia Working to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic Drink Straws

The State New Agency Antara reports that Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has since 2017 joined the #Nostrawmovement to eliminate environmentally destructive single-use plastic drinking straws as a part of their business. Over the past year, drinking straw dispensers have been removed from 630 KFC outlets across Indonesia.

Some environmental groups place single-used plastic drinking straws as the fifth biggest contributors of plastic ocean waste globally.

The #Nostrawmovement was formally adopted on a national basis by KFC on May 8thInternational Coral Reef Day. Initially adopted by 6 KFC outlets in Jakarta in 2017, the program was expanded at the end of 2017 for the entire Jabodetabek (Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Area).

According to Hendry Yunianto, a senior manager nationally for KFC, the company is working to spread environmental awareness among its customer base, seeking their cooperation in refusing plastic straws whenever purchasing drinks from one of their outlets or at other food outlets in Indonesia.

While the initial program reduced plastic straw usage by 45%, KFC is seeking to eliminate completely the use of plastic straws nation-wide. By the end of 2018 and with the introduction of the program at all 630 KFC stands across Indonesia, plastic straw usage is targeted to be reduced by 54%.

It is estimated that every day people using one-time use plastic straws do so 1-2 times a day amounting in Indonesia alone to 93,224,847 plastic straws being used each day at restaurants, for packaged drinks, and other purposes.

An Indonesian environmentalist said the 10 cm long straws used by consumers in Indonesia need 500 years to be broken down in the natural environment. Plastic straws are typically made of highly resilient polypropylene. When these items do break down they are rendered in microplastics that become an inimical material that are absorb into the human body and the wider natural environment causing problems that remain yet to be fully understood.