McDonald's to scrap plastic straws in UK and Ireland

McDonald's has joined the fight against plastic pollution by switching to paper straws at its restaurants in the Unit...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 3:14 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 3:14 PM

McDonald's has joined the fight against plastic pollution by switching to paper straws at its restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The change, which will begin to take effect in September, follows trials of paper straws at select locations. The US fast food chain said a majority of its customers supported the move away from plastic.

"Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws but to do so without compromising their overall experience when visiting our restaurants," said Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald's UK and Ireland.

McDonald's uses 1.8 million straws each day at its 1,361 restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company said the changeover would be complete in 2019.

Plastic straws are the sixth most common type of litter globally, according to Litterati, an app that identifies and maps trash. Only 1% are recycled, largely because they are made of a mixture of polypropylene and polystyrene.

According to the UK government, 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die every year from eating or getting tangled in plastic waste. And research shows there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world's oceans by 2050.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove called on other companies to follow the example of McDonald's.

"McDonald's has made a significant investment in UK manufacturing to produce an alternative to plastic, showing British businesses are taking a global lead," he said in a statement.

Several large UK restaurant chains such as Pizza Express and Wagamama have already stopped using plastic straws.

And a group of more than 40 companies including Coca-Cola, Nestle, Unilever and Procter & Gamble pledged earlier this year to slash the amount of plastic they use and throw away in the United Kingdom.

The flurry of commitments comes as efforts to eliminate single-use plastic intensify.

The European Union moved last month to ban 10 items -- including plastic cutlery, straws and cotton swabs -- by 2030 in a bid to clean up the oceans. But it could take years to come into effect.

Related: Europe plans ban on plastic cutlery, straws and more

In April, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the United Kingdom would look to ban plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, stirrers and straws. She urged Commonwealth countries to commit to the fight against plastic waste at a meeting in London.

McDonald's said that plastic straws would still be available "for those that require it," but they will be kept behind the counter.

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

-- Laura Smith-Spark and Jacopo Prisco contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
Madison53279732
Shelby38325368
Baldwin38068589
Tuscaloosa36009641
Montgomery34482781
Lee25550263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22451406
Etowah20013517
Marshall18777316
Houston17727425
St. Clair16875358
Limestone16135218
Cullman16044303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14968306
Talladega14189299
DeKalb12967269
Walker12020380
Blount10714192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10157194
Coffee9414192
Colbert9334208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7254201
Russell707765
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254460
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184947
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 31°
Columbus
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 32°
Oxford
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 30°
Starkville
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 34°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for our Saturday. This will keep us filled with plenty of sunshine in our weather forecast for our Saturday.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather