McDonald’s has announced that it will start using just paper straws rather than plastic ones at all its UK and Ireland locations. In addition, it is planning to test other sustainable alternatives in some of its U.S. restaurants as well as elsewhere across the globe at some point in 2018.
The burger chain on Facebook said that the customer asked and it listened. The company added that the will begin its transition to just paper straws at all its locations in both the UK and Ireland during September.
It is estimated that McDonald’s uses as many as 1.8 million straws per day in the UK and the Golden Arches has committed to having its entire packaging be from recycled, renewable or certified sources before 2025.
Generally plastic straws are used just once, which makes them a big target for today’s environmentalists who speak about the outrageously large amounts of plastic that eventually reaches the world’s oceans
One marine ecologist estimates that the plastic in the oceans are equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic each minute.
McDonald’s said that its customers have told them they wanted the company to change their straws.
The burger chain will start phasing plastic straws out and the process will be completed by some time in 2019. Before the end of 2019, all locations in both the UK and Ireland will have facilities that will recycle paper straws.
The company said it would test out plastic straw alternatives later in 2018 in the U.S., Australia, France, Norway and Sweden, but did not say what the test straws would be made of.
In addition, in certain markets, such as Malaysia, McDonald’s will be experimenting with much more radical approaches such as offering straws only when requested.
A government official in the UK said that the shift to paper straws by McDonald’s equates to a significant contribution in helping the natural environment and the UK wants more companies to end the use of single-use plastics.
The announcement by McDonald’s comes amidst a broader move against the use of straws across Britain, where two months ago the Prime Minister proposed the banning of plastic straws as well as other plastic items that are single use. A number of businesses in the UK no longer use them.
Momentum is increasing in the U.S. to eliminate the use of plastic straws. Cities such as Malibu, California and Miami, Florida have made them illegal and a ban on plastic straws will go into effect next month in Seattle, Washington.