THE Gwent company which has been picked to make new paper straws for McDonald's is to create around 180 new jobs.

Last month it was announced Transcend Packaging, which is based at the Rassau Industrial Estate in Ebbw Vale, has been chosen as one of two companies which will produce the new straws for the fast food giant.

And now it has been announced the company, which was only set up last year, is investing £11 million into an expansion, which will see its number of employees increase from just 20 to more than 200 by the end of 2021, with the help of a £500,000 Welsh Government grant.

The company's managing director Lorenzo Angelucci said: “We founded Transcend Packaging because we aspire to help companies become more sustainable across a broad range of products from paper straws to folding cartons.

"Our entire Transcend team appreciates the generous support from the Welsh Government and we look forward to providing jobs in Wales for many years to come.

“By working in partnership with local and regional government, leading companies and the wider public, we are able to provide innovative packaging solutions that help preserve a healthy environment.

"We believe that British companies can help drive innovation in sustainability and are proud to be the leading producer of eco-friendly paper straws in the United Kingdom.

"We applaud forward thinking companies like McDonald’s UK and Ireland who have selected Transcend to provide their paper straws which we will begin producing in Wales this summer.”

And, announcing the grant, which will be handed out over the next three years, the Welsh Government's economy and transport secretary Ken Skates said: “Not only is the company rapidly becoming a leader in its field, it is also helping one of the biggest global fast food names to slash its use of single use plastic.

“Transcend Packaging’s focus on decarbonisation and innovation is exactly the sort of behaviour we are trying to encourage with our Economic Action Plan and the Welsh Government is proud to be working hard to support such an ethical and forward looking business.”

The move to paper straws by McDonald's comes in the midst of a widespread campaign to cut the use of plastic, prompted by an episode of the BBC's Blue Planet II series which highlighted the impact of plastic on the world's oceans.

Finland-based Huhtamaki will also produce the straws from a factory in Belfast.