McDonald’s to Test Alternative to Plastic Straws in U.S. This Year

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Later this year, McDonald's will begin testing alternatives in select restaurants in the U.S., France, Sweden, Norway and Australia.

McDonald's has joined the fight against plastic pollution by switching to paper straws at its restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company added that the will begin its transition to just paper straws at all its locations in both the United Kingdom and Ireland during September.

Burger King (EUREX: 18860462.EX - news), Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon have all ditched plastic straws in the past year. McDonald's also revealed that before they made the decision, they used some of their locations as pilot programs.

"McDonald's is committed to using our scale for good and working to find sustainable solutions for plastic straws globally", said Francesca DeBiase, the company's executive vice president for global supply chain and sustainability.

"We are testing straw alternatives in other countries to provide the best experience for our customers".

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.


Ikea and SeaWorld have also promised to stop using plastic straws and bags.

Some manufacturers have previously argued against the removal of plastic straws because they are needed by some people with disabilities, children and the elderly.

The organizations' moves aren't just an attempt to gain positive PR and answer consumer calls for sustainability, either-at least, not in markets outside of the United States.

The plastic straw has become the most recent poster product for ocean protection; plastic straws are among the top pieces of plastic debris polluting beaches and endangering marine life. The British government has been discussing the possibility of banning all single-use plastic straws, but some businesses are acting ahead of time to eliminate them from their own locations. She urged Commonwealth countries to commit to the fight against plastic waste at a meeting in London.

To help McDonald's United Kingdom and Ireland prepare for the paper straw transition, the franchises will receive the support of Wales-based start-up Transcend Packaging and longtime supply partner Huhtamaki Foodservice EAO. However, customers who really want a plastic straw will still be able to get one by asking.

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