Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

McDonald's Says It's Ditching Plastic Straws In U.K. And Ireland

McDonald's Says It's Ditching Plastic Straws In U.K. And Ireland

McDonald's is to replace plastic drinking straws with paper in all of its United Kingdom and Ireland (Other OTC: IRLD - news) branches.

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

Burger King (EUREX: 18860462.EX - news), Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon have all ditched plastic straws in the past year.

The company said it would also experiment with offering straws on request only in some global markets. And it plans to test sustainable alternatives to plastic straws in some restaurants in the US and elsewhere around the globe later this year. The company reportedly uses about 1.8 million straws a day in the United Kingdom, and it has committed to having 100 percent of its packaging come from "renewable, recycled, or certified" sources by 2025.

McDonald's has been under fire for its use of plastic on such a large, global scale.

"We are testing straw alternatives in other countries to provide the best experience for our customers".

McDonald's move added it to a growing list of other organizations seeking to cut down on single-use plastic. The company already implemented a unique straw solution in Malaysia - only dispensing a straw when a customer asks for one.

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McDonald's revealed on its website that all 1,361 McDonald's restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland would start transitioning to using paper straws.

Ikea and SeaWorld have also promised to stop using plastic straws and bags.

The rising levels of plastic waste in the world's oceans have become a hot topic in recent weeks, with the European Union and the British government among those to propose bans on certain single-use products such as cotton buds and plastic straws.

Though McDonald's move was widely applauded, decisions to do away with plastic have been met with some concern-namely, providing accessibility to consumers with disabilities who requireplastic straws.

Plastic straws are the sixth most common type of litter globally, according to Litterati, an app that identifies and maps trash.

Michael Gove, U.K. Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, called the shift a "significant contribution to help our natural environment", USA Today reports.

Restaurant leaders noted that customers reacted positively to the paper straws.

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