As news breaks that international fast-food giant McDonald’s will swap its plastic straws for paper in the name of sustainability, a small UK business founded just seven months ago may have struck gold.
Transcend Packaging, based in the Rassau Industrial Estate in Ebbw Vale, Wales, is one of two firms which will produce McDonald’s new paper straws.
The deal will see the business more than double its workforce to meet McDonald’s demands. Currently employing 20 workers, the founders expect an additional 30 jobs will be created.
Set up just seven months ago with grant funding from the Welsh Assembly, Transcend Packaging will begin production of the straws this summer.
Commenting on the contract, Lorenzo Angelucci, managing director, said: “We greatly appreciate the support and encouragement of the Welsh government and we look forward to providing world-class packaging solutions and further jobs in Wales for many years to come.
“I am delighted that McDonald’s has taken this visionary step towards reducing the environmental impact of the food industry.”
Angelucci said his firm was “privileged to be a part of the long heritage of the Welsh packaging and printing industry”.
“Spurred on by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series we hope that Transcend’s new range of environmentally friendly products will be part of the solution for a greener world.”
The Welsh Assembley also welcomed the news. Economy and transport secretary, Welsh Labour MP Ken Skates took to Twitter applauding the deal.
— Ken Skates (@wgcs_economy) June 15, 2018
Transcend Packaging sales director, Mark Varney, told the BBC how the contract with McDonald’s was secured due to the contacts of the four board members.
“Although we are a new company, between us the board of directors has more than 250 years in the packaging industry,” he said.
“There wasn’t a Dragons’ Den style pitch involved, but we got together with McDonald’s and talked about how we could supply environmentally friendly products.”
The decision taken by McDonald’s to swap the 1.8m plastic straws it uses every day for paper reflects the growing awareness of sustainability among corporations. The burger chain said it had responded to “wider public debate” and wanted to protect marine wildlife affected by certain plastics.
Finland-based Huhtamaki is the other business set to produce the paper straws, from its factory in Belfast.
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