Talk about the straw that broke the Big Mac’s back. McDonald's has just decided that it will be opting out of plastic straws in many of its transatlantic locations this year. Starting in May, the American fast food chain will launch a paper straw pilot program, offering these eco-friendlier alternatives. They will also begin keeping straws behind the counter, only offering one upon a customer’s request.
“Customers have told us that they don’t want to be given a straw and that they want to have to ask for one, so we’re acting on that,” the chain’s chief executive Paul Pomroy told Sky News. In Britain alone, about 8.5 billion straws are used every year. That’s more than 23 million straws a day, according to the Marine Conservation Society.
McDonald's joins other major food chains that have recently declared efforts to help fight plastic pollution. Last week, Starbucks announced a $10 million challenge calling for the creation of a fully compostable paper coffee cup.
This month, Malibu's City Council also declared a ban on all plastic straws and cutlery in local restaurants, replacing them with wood, bamboo, and paper alternatives. Come July, expect to see Seattle go completely straw-free, thanks to a successful campaign headed by eco-advocacy group, The Lonely Whale Foundation.
So far, there have been no mentions of McDonald's locations in the United States making the same switch to paper (however, many have certainly started demanding it!). With Americans using 500 million straws every single day, we can only hope our country might be next to join the movement. Until then, learn how you can help your favorites restaurants go straw-free here.