McDonald's to test alternative to plastic straws in some USA restaurants

It hopes all plastic straws will have been replaced by next year.

Only about 1% of plastic straws are recycled, and, due to their combination polypropylene-polystyrene makeup, they can take hundreds of years to decompose.

However, not everyone favoured plastic straw ban.

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 number of other companies have made the move to paper straws in recent times, including Burger King, Costa Coffee, Wagamama and pub chain JD Wetherspoon, all of whom operate in Ireland.

"Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws", McDonald's was quoted as saying by the BBC.

The activist group SumOfUs estimates that every day, McDonald's alone dispenses millions of plastic straws that customers soon discard, leaving them to litter beaches or clog waterways and fill trash dumps.

The restaurant chain has conducted a trial of the paper replacements at a handful of venues since April, and found customers reacted positively to the change, with the majority supporting the effort to protect the environment.

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald's United Kingdom and Ireland, said: "Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws but to do so without compromising their overall experience when visiting our restaurants".

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

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove called on other companies to follow the example of McDonald's.

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

The world's largest restaurant chain will begin to phase out plastic straws in some European markets as concerns about consumer waste mount.

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".

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

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