McDonald's Begins Global Shift Away From Plastic Straws

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

Lorenzo Angelucci, Managing Director of Transcend Packaging Ltd, said: "I am delighted that McDonald's has taken this visionary step towards helping to reduce the environmental impact of the food industry through their purchase of paper straws".

The paper used for the new straws will be drawn from sustainable forests and will be made by two companies, one of which is based in Northern Ireland.

McDonald's United Kingdom and Ireland announced that it would be incorporating paper straws into all its restaurants starting in September. The SumOfUs campaign called for McDonald's to stop using plastic straws as they are an enormous expense to the ocean and marine life.

"Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws", McDonald's told the BBC. The company reportedly uses about 1.8 million straws a day in the United Kingdom, and it has committed to having 100 percent of its packaging come from "renewable, recycled, or certified" sources by 2025.

The burger chain will start phasing plastic straws out and the process will be completed by some time in 2019.

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McDonald's says that the tests will take place at select locations in the U.S. There are also plans from the company to test out these types of straws at stores in France, Sweden, Norway and Australia.

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.

In addition, in certain markets, such as Malaysia, McDonald's will be experimenting with much more radical approaches such as offering straws only when requested. "We want more companies to say no to unnecessary single-use plastics". A number of United Kingdom businesses have already stopped using them. Food services company Bon Appétit said last month it was removing the straws from its 1,000 cafes in 33 states. Cities such as Malibu, California and Miami, Florida have made them illegal and a ban on plastic straws will go into effect next month in Seattle, Washington.

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