A&W is the first North American restaurant chain to eliminate plastic straws

Plastic straws will soon no longer be served at A&W Restaurants

The fast-food chain has announced it's working to eliminate the use and distribution of plastic straws by the end of this year.

"There's no better spot for us to make our announcement but in our backyard", said A&W Canada's director of distribution, equipment and packaging, Tyler Pronyk.

"Eliminating plastic straws is another big step for us".

A&W Canada is working with a USA -based company to supply the paper straws that can meet their volume needs, according to Pronyk. "We are proud to make this change, which has been driven by the wishes of our guests, franchisees, and staff".

You'll have to enjoy those cherished root beer floats without a plastic straw in the near future.

"The paper straws are 100% biodegradable, compostable and are sustainably sourced", the company said in a statement. The company says the straws last 2-3 hours in a drink before breaking down and biodegrade naturally in 3-6 months.

The company, Canada's second largest burger chain behind McDonalds with 925 restaurants across the country, says the switch will keep 82 million plastic straws out of landfills every year.

As part of A&W's environmental strategy, the restaurants have been using compostable packaging, along with mugs, ceramic plates and stainless steel cutlery in their dining rooms. "As we learn more about new tools and sustainable practices, we look forward to more improvements ahead", he adds.

In May, the City of Vancouver approved a ban on single-use straws as well as polystyrene foam cups and containers.

While A&W may be the first fast-food chain to ban straws, others are going to have to follow suit, at least at their Vancouver locations.

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