- McDonald’s is replacing plastic straws with paper ones in its UK and Ireland restaurants.
- The new straws are expected to be in operation starting in September.
- McDonald’s is testing or planning to test the change in markets around the world including the US.
McDonald’s is ditching plastic straws in all of its 1,361 UK and Ireland restaurants in what could turn out to be a playbook for its operations in the rest of the world.
The company says paper straws, which are more environmentally friendly, will replace plastic ones starting in September.
The BBC reports that McDonald’s uses 1.8 million straws a day in the UK alone.
“Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws,” Paul Pomroy, the chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said.
“The government’s ambitious plans, combined with strong customer opinion, has helped to accelerate the move away from plastic, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to play our part in helping to achieve this societal change.”
McDonald’s says the new straws will use paper from sustainable sources.
UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove called it a “significant contribution” to helping the environment and said it was “a fine example to other large businesses.”
The ban on plastic straws comes as a result of a series of successful trials, which are soon set to start in the US, France, and Norway.
The recycling nonprofit Eco-Cycle claims that the US uses 500 million plastic straws every day.
While plastic straws are technically recyclable, their small size and weight mean they are often missed by sorting machines, and the sheer number of straws used every day means they make a big contribution to the millions of tons of plastic that end up in the ocean every year.
McDonald’s isn’t the first food corporation to buck the plastic trend in the UK; JD Wetherspoon, Burger King, and Costa Coffee have all phased out plastic straws in the past year.