McDonald’s Turns Plastic Straws Into Swimsuits to Highlight Its Shift to Paper in Austria

The recycled branded apparel line was developed by Virtue

Photo of person wearing McDonald
A limited number of the swimsuits will be sold to fans. Virtue
Headshot of Sara Spary

As the biggest fast food brand in the world, McDonald’s is responsible for a lot of waste. But with consumers becoming more concerned about environmental impact, the burger chain is looking to address that.

McDonald’s has already banned plastic straws from U.K restaurants in favor of paper ones, and now it has done the same in Austria, as European countries become increasingly conscious of the negative effects of plastic on the planet.

To promote that change, McDonald’s Austria has released an artsy new film created by Vice-owned agency Virtue. The spot features models wearing swimsuits made from recycled plastic straws. The pieces were designed by Viennese label Poleit in collaboration with Studio Furore.

The brand is auctioning off a small number of similar swimwear pieces from the limited edition collection, should you also wish to dress in the stylish colors of a McDonald’s straw.

“We are delighted about our unique sustainable swimwear collection made from recycled material in our classic straw design,” said Benedikt Böcker, marketing director for McDonald’s Austria.

While U.S. restaurants have been slow to phase out plastic straws, Canada seems to be leading by example. A&W Canada was the first North American restaurant chain to drop plastic straws, which it announced by turning its remaining straws into a giant sculpture saying “Change is good.” Both Ikea and Starbucks have also sworn off plastic straws.

Agency: Virtue
Client: Benedikt Böcker, marketing director McDonald’s Austria
Costume designers: Poleit, Studio Furore

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@saramayspary Sara Spary is a freelance journalist based in London. She's been a reporter for eight years, covering advertising and consumer brands.