McDonald’s switching to paper straws in U.K., Ireland

McDonald's announced it will begin testing plastic straw alternatives in the U.S. and transitioning to paper straws in the U.K

The company, which has also been testing alternatives in Belgium, will begin trials in select restaurants in the U.S., France, Sweden and Norway later this year as it seeks to source more of its packaging across the globe from recycled sources.

McDonald's says it will start using paper straws instead of plastic at all its locations across the United Kingdom 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 executive Paul Pomroy says customers welcome the switch from plastic straws to paper as long as it does not impact their experience when visiting the restaurant.

McDonald's uses 1.8 million straws each day at its 1,361 restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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

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Eric Goldstein, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the announcement from as big a company as McDonald's reflects the growing tide of concern about single-use plastics worldwide.

The flurry of commitments comes as efforts to eliminate single-use plastic intensify.

Governments are also getting in on the plastic straw ban act. The SumOfUs campaign called for McDonald's to stop using plastic straws as they are an enormous expense to the ocean and marine life.

The European Union moved last month to ban 10 items - including plastic cutlery, straws and cotton swabs - by 2030 in a bid to clean up the oceans.

More than 60 music festivals, including Bestival, have also committed to eradicating plastic straws from all of their sites by 2021. She urged Commonwealth countries to commit to the fight against plastic waste at a meeting in London.

An estimated 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the USA -that's more than the number of people living in this country by almost 200 million. Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson argued that plastic straws can help disabled people drink without assistance.

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