An Australian woman has recorded her visit to a McDonald's restaurant in the United States, leaving fellow Aussies mind-blown about the "same-but-different" dining experience.
TikToker Ali Smith, who documents her life on the platform, shared the video with her followers on Monday and has racked up hundreds of thousands of views as fellow Aussies marvel at her use of a popular product that's been banned in Australia.
"We went to McDonald's for the first time ever and I couldn't believe it," Ms Smith begins. The video then cuts to her using a self-service terminal with a much bigger menu offering than we're used to in Australia, as well as an all-you-can drink machine featuring Powerade, Dr Pepper and Hi-C.
"I can not believe the amount of options for everything," Ms Smith says. "And that they call their burgers sandwiches. Anyway I got Dr Pepper and Powerade, and look at the size difference between the large and the medium. In Australia, the medium size that you see here is our large," she adds, gesturing to the smaller cup before inserting a straw.
Aussies covet plastic straws
Although Ms Smith didn't make a point of it, what really caught the eye of Australian viewers were the single-use plastic straws, which are no longer provided at McDonald's outlets Down Under. "What, they have plastic straws? So lucky bro!" one Macca's lover commented. "I'd be taking so many plastic straws and taking them back home to Australia," responded another envious Aussie, joining a chorus of people lamenting the introduction of paper straws.
Although most Australian states and territories have now enacted legislation banning plastic straws and cutlery, Macca's removed these items from their restaurants nationally in 2020, replacing them with paper-based utensils (which are quite unpopular). McDonald's says this initiative has taken more than 500 million plastic straws and 115 million pieces of plastic cutlery out of circulation every year.
McDonald's moves towards sustainability
While plastic straws are still available at Macca's in the States, dine-in customers in some US restaurants are now served their meals in reusable containers, which customers can later bring to a designated return point for them to be washed, sanitised and made ready for the next diner.
The chain says they're targeting 100 per cent recycled or renewable packaging by the end of 2025, while seeking to "drastically reduce" the use of virgin fossil-fuel based plastics in their Happy Meal toys.
According to Takeaway Packaging UK, a provider of eco-friendly cardboard packaging, McDonald's restaurants around the world collectively produce around three tonnes of waste every minute.
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