McDonald's is cleaning up its act in Europe, and the restaurant chain is starting by phasing out plastic straws in all its branches in the U.K. and Ireland by September of this year. McDonald's in the Netherlands is also planning to do away with plastic straws by 2019 as well.
Instead of plastic straws, McDonald's will be providing customers with paper ones instead, according to BBC. That could easily add up to 1.8 million straws a day in the U.K. alone.
This new move towards paper straws will be implemented should a trial run in selected restaurants, to be done earlier this year, prove successful. McDonald's expect the transition to be completed by next year.
While the planned phase-out of plastic straws covers only branches in the U.K. and Ireland for this year, the chain is also planning trial runs in selected restaurants in Norway, France and the U.S. as well.
"Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws," the company said in a statement.
While McDonald's in the U.K. and Ireland have more or less settled on paper straws, the Dutch franchises of the fast-food chain are still looking at other alternatives. "You can think of straws made of paper or no straw at all," a representative explained. "Think of a tute like with coffee cups," the representative continued.
Branches of McDonald's in the Netherlands expect to be able to pick an alternative by the end of this year, according to the NL Times.
This move is seen as part of and a response to a larger anti-plastic movement across Europe, one that has the European Commission proposing a gradual phase-out of disposable plastic products, including plastic straws, cutlery, and cotton buds, across countries in the region.
This set of new policies is, in turn, part of a global campaign to cut down on plastic waste that find their way to shores, bodies of water, and inside the bodies of marine life. The EU plans to have these new rules in place by the year 2030.