McDonald's to test alternative to plastic straws in some US restaurants

McDonald's to test alternative to plastic straws in some US restaurants
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McDonald’s announced Friday that it would start testing an alternative to plastic straws in some of its U.S. restaurants, and would completely phase out the products in some of its European locations.

The fast food giant said that it would start using paper straws at all of its 1,361 stores in the U.K. and Ireland beginning in September, according to a release.

The move coincides with the U.K.’s proposal to ban single-use plastic straws and similar products, the first country to propose such a widespread ban. Prime Minister Theresa May announced the ban in April, saying that it could be implemented as soon as next year.

Cities and companies globally have begun testing bans on plastic straws, drink stirrers and bags, citing concerns about ocean pollution and harm to marine life.

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McDonald’s also plans to test alternatives to plastic straws in some of its locations in France, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Australia, as well as in some of its more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

"We hope this work will support industry wide change and bring sustainable solutions to scale,” Executive Vice President of Global Supply Chain and Sustainability Francesca DeBiase said in a statement.

McDonald’s shareholders last month rejected a proposal asking the company to examine and report on its plastic straw use, saying it was already committed to several environmentally friendly measures, including using completely sustainable or recycled packaging by 2025. 

The vote followed a petition signed by nearly half a million people calling on the company to stop using the straws at its U.S. locations.