McDonald's replacing all plastic straws with paper ones

Credit PA

Credit PA

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.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has also joined to movement, writing in a recent Instagram post that he's "out on single-use plastic straws". "Through our 25 Year Environment Plan we have committed to eliminating avoidable plastic and we will continue to take decisive action to protect our precious environment".

SeaWorld, Ikea and Royal Caribbean have already vowed to stop using plastic straws and bags.

Those locations now use 1.8 million plastic straws per day.

Many end up in landfill and the oceans, and the BBC's Blue Planet II highlighted the damage plastic can cause to marine wildlife.

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McDonald's will use two companies to meet their needs, according to RTÉ - Huhtamaki, which has a production plant in Belfast, and Welsh start-up Transcend Packaging.

While plastic straws are technically recyclable, their small size and weight mean they are often missed by sorting machines, and the sheer number of straws used every day means they make a big contribution to the millions of tons of plastic that end up in the ocean every year.

"Our customers have told us that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like us to address", Francesca Debiase, McDonald's chief supply chain and sustainability officer said in a statement in January.

McDonald's also plans to test alternatives to plastic straws in some of its locations in France, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Australia, as well as in some of its more than 14,000 USA restaurants. Similar testing has started in Belgium and will soon start in the US, France, Sweden, Norway and Australia.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the initiative was "simple but effective" and is a "fine example to other large businesses".

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