McDonald's customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland will be seeing significant changes to their drink orders starting this September.

Enter Paper Straws

McDonald's revealed on its website that all 1,361 McDonald's restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland would start transitioning to using paper straws. The fast-food company hopes that by 2019, all its restaurants would be free of plastic straws. McDonald's also revealed that before they made the decision, they used some of their locations as pilot programs.

Restaurant leaders noted that customers reacted positively to the paper straws. They also stated that customers supported the permanent changeover because they wanted to help McDonald's protect the environment. Tech Times obtained a press release from McDonald's UK and Ireland that revealed the participating pilot restaurants put plastic straws behind the counter and allowed customers to choose if they wanted either a paper or a plastic straw.

The Next Phase

To help McDonald's UK and Ireland prepare for the paper straw transition, the franchises will receive the support of Wales-based start-up Transcend Packaging and longtime supply partner Huhtamaki Foodservice EAO. Both organizations are expected to supply the McDonald's UK and Ireland restaurants with the paper straws. The paper straw initiative is part of McDonald's overall goal of getting 100 percent renewable and recyclable packaging by 2025 worldwide.

"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," said Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald's UK and Ireland, to CNN.

The United Kingdom and Ireland are not the only countries that are expected to take part in this first phase of the plastic straw initiative. McDonald's in Australia, France, Norway, Sweden, and Malaysia will take part in this transition. Despite a report that McDonald's shareholders rejected a proposal to ban plastic straws earlier this year, several selected United States restaurants will have access to paper straws.

Plastic News

A dead pilot whale was found in a canal in Thailand. The autopsy revealed that the whale swallowed over 17 pounds of plastic. Before it passed away, a team of veterinarians and marine animal rescuers tried to save its life. Authorities believed that the whale mistook the plastic products for food.

The European Union proposed a ban on 10 single-use plastic products to reduce the amount of plastic garbage that is found in their countries' beaches and bodies of water. They noted that up to 70 percent of the waste that is found in these areas are plastic items. Among the things that they are trying to ban include plastic straws, plastic plates, coffee stirrers, and cotton swabs. Also, the European Union have set a goal of collecting 90 percent of single-use plastic bottles by 2025.

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