McDonald's to switch to paper straws in U.K., Ireland

Ivan Schwartz
June 15, 2018

All 1,361 restaurants will begin the roll-out from September, with the process to be completed next year.

SeaWorld, Ikea and Royal Caribbean have already vowed to stop using plastic straws and bags.

British officials will launch later this year a public consultation for a potential bill banning the sale of the single-use plastics.

McDonald's announced Friday that it would start testing an alternative to plastic straws in some of its US restaurants, and would completely phase out the products in some of its European locations.

A straw, which is used for only 20 minutes on average, can take more than 200 years to break down into smaller pieces and often does not fully disintegrate.

"McDonald's is committed to using our scale for good and working to find sustainable solutions for plastic straws globally", Francesca DeBiase, the company's executive vice president for global supply chain and sustainability, said in a statement.

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The company is the latest to ditch plastic straws, with businesses including Burger King, Costa Coffee, Wagamama and pub chain JD Wetherspoon all making the move away from them.

It follows a successful trial at a handful of venues from April.

'Over the past few months we've been working closely with supplier partners to find a solution that works both for our customers, and that the supply is there given the size of our business.

The ban does not yet extend to the rest of the chain's global empire, but trials will begin in selected restaurants in the US, France and Norway.

McDonald's also plans to test alternatives to plastic straws in some of its locations in France, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Australia, as well as in some of its more than 14,000 USA restaurants. And in Malaysia, McDonald's will try a new approach to dispensing straws - giving them out only if a customer requests one.

The decision by the United States fast food chain to switch from plastic to paper straws follows a trial at a number of outlets in the past two months. "In addition to the exciting news from the United Kingdom today, we are testing straw alternatives in other countries to provide the best experience for our customers".

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