Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

McDonald's to ditch plastic straws in UK, Ireland

Those locations now use 1.8 million plastic straws per 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 our oceans every year.

McDonald's will begin to withdraw plastic straws from sale in September.

"Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws", Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald's United Kingdom and Ireland, said. The switch to paper straws will be completed next year.

In parts of Latin America and Malaysia, the company is starting to offer straws on request only.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has also joined to movement, writing in a recent Instagram post that he's "out on single-use plastic straws". Pizza Express said it would replace all plastic straws with biodegradable ones by summer 2018.

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The initiative comes after a trial run there, and new paper-straw trials are set for some McDonald's locations in France, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and the US, CNBC notes.

Plastic straws enable many disabled people to drink independently, according to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Speaking in March, Paul Pomroy, McDonald's UK CEO, said "the reduction and use of plastics is a hugely important issue - for our business, for the sector and for society". She said paper alternatives were not always suitable or safe.

McDonald's will end the use of plastic straws in its British restaurants next year, after almost half a million people called on the company to ditch them.

It argues that straws can be recycled together with cartons if they are pushed back into the box.

"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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