company announced it would adopt paper straws at all of its U.K. locations this year. It’s not known at this time what material McDonald’s will use for its alternate straws in America, but paper seems to be the option of choice for food chains ready to ditch plastic straws. Plastic straws have come under fire from environmental activists because of their single-use nature and the fact that they don’t easily biodegrade. Worldwide attention to plastic straw use and alternatives picked up after a video of a sea turtle with a straw up its nose went viral last year.
McDonald’s will start testing plastic straw alternatives at select US locations this year. In the UK, the company has decided to adopt biodegradable paper straws.
The announcement comes amid calls from environmental activists urging McDonald’s and other food conglomerates to ditch plastic straws.
Several US cities have already enacted their own bans.
Following calls from environmentalists, McDonald’s is now testing alternatives to plastic straws in the US.
The fast-food giant will trial them at select locations later this year, according to USA Today. No word on what the straws will be made of, but the announcement follows news that McDonald’s will adopt paper straws at every UK location by 2019.
Because plastic straws are tiny and don’t easily biodegrade, they can commonly slip through the cracks of a city’s waste-recycling process, clogging ponds, rivers, and oceans. And unlike their plastic counterparts (forks, takeout containers, plastic bags, etc), straws don’t really offer a purpose besides a bit of convenience. Nationwide, McDonald’s distributes millions of drinks every day, which means many of their straws have likely ended up in the wild. It is estimated that the UK uses around 8.5 billion plastic straws every year and in America, 500 million straws are used every single day. From these statistics alone you can see the massive role plastic straws play in our society. Unfortunately, this huge quantity of straws often ends up polluting the oceans and being ingested by animals. We certainly hope to see plastic straw alternatives here in the U.S., but until then we can all play a role in cutting out excess waste. To find out how you can help the planet by ditching plastic straws and other disposable plastics, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!