McDonald’s is to remove all plastic straws from its restaurants by 2019, with a transition to paper alternatives due to begin in September.
The move has already been trialled in several restaurants with McDonald’s claiming its customers have “reacted positively to the change”. All its restaurants currently keep plastic straws behind the counter meaning customers must ask for a straw if they require one.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said: “Congratulations to McDonald’s on making this significant contribution to help our natural environment. We all have a responsibility to our environment and this simple yet effective initiative is a fine example to other large businesses.
“McDonald’s has made a significant investment in UK manufacturing to produce an alternative to plastic, showing British businesses are taking a global lead. We want more companies to say no to unnecessary single use plastics.
“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.”
Paper used by both suppliers will come from certified sources, endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said: “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. Over the past few months we’ve been working closely with supplier partners to find a solution that works both for our customers, and that the supply is there given the size of our business.
“The Government’s ambitious plans, combined with strong customer opinion, has helped to accelerate the move away from plastic and I’m proud that we’ve been able to play our part in helping to achieve this societal change.”