Fast-food chain KFC is investigating reports that one of its Singapore outlets breached the company's "no plastic straws" policy, less than four months after it started a campaign in June to stop providing them.
A photo circulated online on Wednesday of a plastic straw dispenser on a counter, next to a sign declaring, "Say 'no' to straws", and a message saying, "Let's work together to save the Earth! #KFCnostraws".
The company announced earlier this year that all its 84 Singapore branches would take part in the green initiative, which will stop the annual waste of 17.9 tonnes of single-use plastics here.
KFC is looking to find out at which outlet the straw dispenser was placed. A spokesman told The Straits Times: "We are aware of the picture circulating and are currently in the midst of verifying the circumstance."
He added that while outlets still provide plastic straws to customers who need them, the placement of the dispenser on the counter is against KFC's guidelines. "We will work closely with our operations team to reinforce these guidelines throughout our restaurants."
Ms Pamela Low, 23, a member of the Singapore Youth for Climate Action, supported KFC's probe, saying the chain had demonstrated "leadership and foresight".
She added: "KFC should consider partnering non-governmental organisations that target plastic waste reduction to amplify the impact of its initiative."
Mr Louis Ng, an MP for Nee Soon GRC, told The Straits Times: "Change won't happen overnight and it is important for everyone to recognise that we are making some progress. We should give KFC a chance to investigate this case, clarify their stand on this issue and, perhaps, explain when exactly straws will be given out."
Earlier last month, customers at KFC's outlet at Greenridge Shopping Centre in Bukit Panjang resorted to taking straws from nearby foodcourts. It led the management of Bagus and Kopitiam to put up a sign telling them to stop taking their straws for KFC purchases.
The movement here against the use of plastic straws has received a boost this year, with multiple food outlets discouraging their use.
Since April, customers of 27 other eateries, such as 4Fingers Crispy Chicken, have been reminded to ditch plastic straws.
They are all part of an effort under the Straw-Free Singapore movement, an environmental initiative that encourages individuals and businesses to give up single-use, disposable plastic straws.