FOOD BRAND, Kentucky Fried Chicken will, in South Africa, as of 1 July be embarking on a new quest geared toward the elimination of 60 million plastic straws annually from their over 900 restaurants!
The welcome commitment was spelt out at an occasion held, aptly, at the Wits Origins Centre and attended by representatives of the food giant, the academic institution, members of the media, Instagram globetrotting celebrity Maps Maponyane and comedian, Jonathan Goliath.
Walking around with the assistance of a crutch, Goliath, who directed the program on the night, had the sizable crowd in stitches as his tongue rolled off words and phrases such as, cadence, gravitas, micro wave generation – at a gathering where his wisecrack was matched by other phrases such as, “the straw that breaks the camel’s back” bounced by a featured speaker he had the honour of introducing.
Expounding on the significance of her institution, Wits Origins Centre’s partnership with KFC (under the hashtag, #TheFinalStraw), the director, Professor Amanda Esterhuysen acknowledged the food giant’s initiative as a fitting announcement – coming as it did, off the back of World Ocean Day – since plastics impacted oceans negatively. Stating that The Origins Centre was proud to partner with KFC in its commitment to flipping from plastic straws to paper straws, Esterhuysen declared that it was a real starting point for their business and a move worthy of applause.
“This partnership is significant in furthering Wits University’s goals on sustainability and reduction in single use plastics,” she underlined.
She continued, “KFC globally has committed to eliminate non-recoverable or non-reusable plastic-based packaging by 2025 and this goal supports our long – term plan to implement more sustainable practices at Wits. We have been happy for KFC to erect an exhibition here at Origins that will be on display for 2 months to mark the final straw, and educate on the use of plastics by giving away 150 tickets to Wits students to drive awareness.
KFC globally has committed to eliminating non-recoverable or non-reusable plastic-based packaging by 2025 and this goal supports our long term plan to implement a more sustainable practices at Wits.”
After Esterhuysen was done with her speech, it fell to Public Affairs Director for KFC Africa, Thabisa Mkhwanazi to officiate in the unveiling of the symbolic final straw – meticulously placed on one of the centre’s rocks.
After the photographers and videographers present had snapped and filmed away, guests were then led to various exhibition spaces hosting installations which would be on display for two months to mark the final straw, and educate on the use of plastics.
The first stop of an interactive walkabout was at a very impressive installation named, Straw Wave, and constructed of thousands of plastic straw, in the form of an arced wave! Whilst simultaneously staring at the particular exhibition, the visitors had earphones on, from which issued forth information on awareness around the harm caused to the environment.
With the wave’s purpose serving to demonstrate the impact of the plastic pollution problem, viewers are urged to wave goodbye to plastic and encouraging them to take their last selfies with plastic at a Strawfie Station (which formed a part of the installation), pledge their commitment to a better future and switch to paper with KFC!
At the tour’s conclusion, the now excitable visitors were ushered into a hospitality space suitably filled up by the sounds of musician, Langa Mavuso, belting away Maxwell standards whilst waiters went around with wooden trays laden with a portable buffet of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s familiar menu offerings.
Well into the spirit of the occasion, Mkhwanazi – mischievously referred to as “so streetwise too” by Goliath earlier on – further obliged for photo opportunities, this time around, teasingly blowing a goodbye kiss to the symbolic last straw laid on the rock installation!
Whilst attendees had gathered to witness the banishment of the plastic straw – they took leave of the venue with metal straws, gifted as souvenirs marking a point in time Kentucky Fried Chicken resolved to embrace a vicissitude for the betterment of our World!
In a media release the local food giant stated that it remains committed to embarking on initiatives which uphold environmental standards in communities it operates in.
That, as a global brand operating more than 22 000 restaurants in over 135 countries, it was best placed to have a real impact on how the industry approached waste and packaging management overall.
Announcing that its mission towards sustainable packaging starts with a straw, KFC observed that it took an incredible 200 years for a single plastic straw to decompose and as such, takes it upon itself to contribute affirmatively to the environment in which it conducts business.
The statement concludes by mentioning the commitment on KFC’s part to eliminate non-recoverable or non-reusable plastic based packaging by 2025.
Image Jacob MAWELA (Public Affairs director KFC Africa, Thabisa Mkhwanazi teasingly blows a goodbye kiss to the food brands’ symbolic final straw at the Wits Origins Center, Braamfontein).