McDonald's Will Ditch Plastic Straws Later This Year

"The drive to eliminate plastic straws is a good step and it's symbolic - and symbols are important", he said.

The announcements come amid a global movement to eliminate the use of plastic straws, which are hard to recycle and often end up in the ocean. But it could take years to come into effect.

The global fast food chain has 1,361 restaurants in the UK.

"We all have a responsibility to our environment and this simple yet effective initiative is a fine example to other large businesses", he said.

The company is the latest to ditch plastic straws, with businesses including Burger King, Costa Coffee, Wagamama and pub chain JD Wetherspoon all making the move away from them.

McDonald's isn't the only major straw user to start tossing them aside.

CNNMoney notes that, per trash-mapping app Litterati, plastic straws are the sixth most common type of litter in the world.

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The Sum of Us petition calling for the change had warned that many plastic straws ended up polluting the ocean, harming seabirds and marine life.

But not everyone thinks total bans are the answer. She said paper alternatives were not always suitable or safe.

Campaigners, such Michaela Hollywood who has spinal muscular atrophy, have urged companies to ensure they are providing alternatives to plastic straws as opposed to an all-out ban, as some disabled people rely on straws in order to be able to drink.

Plastic straws can be seen at a McDonald's restaurant, after it was revealed that they are to replace their plastic straws with paper ones in United Kingdom and Ireland restaurants, in London, Britain, June 15, 2018. It argued that straws can be recycled together with cartons if they are pushed back into the box.

McDonald's said it had found two suppliers to meet its needs for paper straws - a global company called Huhtamaki which has a production plant in Belfast, and Welsh start-up Transcend Packaging.

McDonald's Corp. declined to say what type of straw it would test in the USA, only saying that it would be a "sustainable solution".

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