James Delingpole

McDonald’s straws and the policies of moral panic

McDonald's straws and the policies of moral panic
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McDonald's has bowed to public pressure and replaced plastic straws that you can recycle, with paper straws that you can’t recycle and which have to be put into the general waste and burned.

How is this a victory for the environment?

Well it’s not, obviously. Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore could have told you this a year ago. As indeed he did when he tweeted:

'Plastics - “Global Enemy Number One”- ECJ OK, let’s call for a global ban on plastic children’s toys and see how that goes over! This is “pop-environmentalism” at its finest. Banning plastic straws is disingenuous tokenism. 3 Cheers for Plastic!!'

Why was the co-founder of Greenpeace trying to stop us saving the planet?

Well he wasn't. He just recognised that sometimes well-meaning environmental policies can do more harm than good. The war on 'single use’ plastic was a moral panic, largely generated by the propaganda department of – you guessed it, Greenpeace – then amplified by useful idiots like David Attenborough and the BBC, and eagerly adopted by virtue-signalling politicians like Michael Gove.

Moore tells the full story in a report he produced last year for the Heartland Institute, an 'Analysis of Greenpeace’s business model and philosophy'. It’s a long, damning report whose details need not detain us here.

Suffice to say, legislation introduced as a result of moral panics cooked up by hard-left activist groups rarely results in beneficial outcomes.

McDonald's customers hate the new squishy, paper straws (some going so far as to buy old plastic straws on Ebay). The environment hasn’t benefited one jot. Everyone loses.

Written byJames Delingpole

James Delingpole is the host of the Delingpod - a weekly conversation with some of the world’s most interesting people.

Topics in this articleSociety