McDonald's to Dump Plastic Straws in United Kingdom, Ireland

McDonald's branches in the UK and Ireland will withdraw plastic straws from September

McDonald's said Friday it will switch to paper straws at all its locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and test an alternative to plastic ones in some of its US restaurants later this year.

Paul Pomroy, chief executive 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".

Last week, Ikea announced it aims to phase out all single-use plastic products from its stores and restaurants by 2020.

Figures from the US-based Ocean Conservancy's TIDES data system show that plastic straws are the 11th most common item of rubbish found during oceanic clean-ups, making up about 3% of recovered waste.

Burger King, Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon have all ditched plastic straws in the a year ago.

McDonald's is the latest in a string of high street names in the process of replacing plastic straws with paper or biodegradable ones, including Costa Coffee, Wetherspoons and Pizza Express.

Prior to these planned changes, McDonald's had already made an effort to cut down on plastic waste by keeping their plastic straws behind the counters instead of a free-for-all system.

And more than 60 independent British festivals - including Boardmasters and Bestival - have banned plastic straws as part of a pledge to rid their sites of single-use plastic by 2021.

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

McDonald's said in a statement: "Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws".

Transcend Packaging in Wales, and Huhtamaki in Belfast, will supply the straws for all 1,361 McDonald's restaurants.

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".

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