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McDonald’s UK to go from 1.8 MILLION to 0 straws per day

Sydney Borton
Digital Reporter

Friday, June 15, 2018, 1:26 PM - McDonald’s restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland are saying "NO" to single-use plastics by replacing their signature yellow and red striped straws with paper straws.

“Reflecting on the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws,” said Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland in a press release.

And that’s exactly what they did.

The change is scheduled to begin in September across all McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland. Beginning in April, several McDonald’s restaurants in the UK began testing the paper straws with their customers and the feedback was mainly positive. The fast food chain currently uses 1.8 million straws a day in the UK.

Other UK food chains have also listened to the feedback and banned plastic straws, including Burger King, JD Wetherspoon, Costa Coffee, Pizza Express, and Wagamama.

This debate prompted the British government to propose a ban on single-use plastic products such as straws, coffee stir sticks, and cotton buds back in April. On being able to assist in the nation-wide move to reduce plastic waste, Pomroy said "I'm proud that we've been able to play our part in helping to achieve this societal change."

Unlike plastic straws, paper straws are biodegradable and compostable, making them much better for the environment!


Across the pond here in North America, several cities are now taking matters into their own hands and banning single-use plastics. In Miami, California, and Seattle, Washington, plastic straws and utensils are banned. Vancouver, British Columbia will introduce a ban of plastic straws and Styrofoam take-out containers on June 1, 2019. Numerous other cities have already banned other single-use plastics, so it might be just a matter of time before plastic straws are banned, too.

And when the city can’t be moved, some restaurants have begun eliminating plastic straws. There are several restaurants in the UK and US that serve their customers drinks with pasta straws. Jack Astor’s Tweeted on April 16, 2018 that they will now be using biodegradable straws to help protect the environment.

In addition to serving all "dine-in" meals on ceramic plates with metal utensils, glass mugs, and metal baskets, A&W restaurants in Canada will now be rolling out paper straws as well. This is big news for Canada's 2nd largest burger chain, who hopes this switch will help further reduce their environmental impact. 


At the beginning of 2018, Canada banned micro-plastics in cosmetic products, though they are still allowed in medical products. 

In addition to Vancouver's plastic straw and utensil ban, other cities and provinces are moving toward reducing their plastic waste. PEI may become the first province to ban plastic bags entirely. The province now charges 15 cents per bag (as opposed to many grocery stores having a 5 cent per bag charge) and that fee will raise to 25 cents in 2019, before banning plastic bags completely in 2020. Victoria, BC has a similar ban in the works and businesses could potentially face hefty fines for providing plastic bags once the bans are in place. 

Montreal and several smaller townships have banned plastic bags from grocery stores, but still allow thin produce bags to be distributed. 

IKEA will also be banning plastic straws, utensils, cups, plates, and similar items in their restaurants by 2019. Brendan Seale, IKEA Canada Head of Sustainability told CTV that the company is going to make the switch "as soon as possible". 


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