McDonald’s Will End Use of Plastic Straws at Thousands of Locations

McDonald's is set to start using paper straws across the UK and Ireland.

McDonald's is set to start using paper straws across the UK and Ireland. (PA)

McDonald’s plans to stop using plastic straws in all of its 1,361 restaurants in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2019, according to a company press release. It will start testing non-plastic alternatives in select locations in the United States, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, and Australia later this year, as well as test only giving straws upon request in markets such as Malaysia.

McDonald’s stores in the UK and Ireland will shift to using paper straws sourced from companies in Northern Ireland and Wales.

The global fast food giant’s decision comes two months after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a countrywide ban on single-use plastic straws and similar products, set to take effect as soon as next year. It also follows a petition signed by nearly half a million people asking the company to stop using plastic straws at its U.S. locations, The Hill reported.

The policy change is the latest in a string of corporate bans on plastic straws, including from British companies such as Costa Coffee, Pizza Express, and the supermarket chain Waitrose, according to The Guardian.

McDonald’s previously launched a goal to source 100 percent of its packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025. McDonald’s has about 37,000 restaurants globally.

“McDonald’s is committed to using our scale for good and working to find sustainable solutions for plastic straws globally,” Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s executive vice president for sustainability, said in a statement.