McDonald's to switch to paper straws in all UK restaurants

Paper straws will be brought

Paper straws will be brought

In addition to the USA testing, McDonald's will implement paper straws in all 1,361 of its restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with the rollout scheduled to begin in September and conclude by 2019.

The fast food chain's unprecedented move - which will also affect all restaurants in Ireland - will come into effect in September.

The announcement follows news that the government is planning to ban the sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds from sale in England.

It comes amid growing pressures on companies to reduce single-use plastic products and packaging, over concerns on the environmental impacts.

Last month, McDonald's shareholders overwhelmingly voted down a proposal to study alternatives to plastic straws.

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.

McDonald's, which uses 1.8m straws a day in the United Kingdom, joins a growing number of chefs and hospitality groups cutting down on plastic use.

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McDonald's will use two companies to meet their needs, according to RTÉ - Huhtamaki, which has a production plant in Belfast, and Welsh start-up Transcend Packaging.

A trial of the paper replacements has been taking place at a handful of restaurants since April and was found to be a success, with the majority of customers supporting the effort to protect the environment.

Meanwhile, McDonald's says it will begin trials for non-plastic straws in select restaurants in the U.S., France and Norway.

"In addition to testing alternative materials, in several markets including Malaysia, we will begin tests to offer straws upon request only", the company said in a release.

The big change has had the seal of approval from Michael Gove, Environment Secretary.

"We all have a responsibility to our environment and this simple yet effective initiative is a fine example to other large businesses", he said.

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