While a global fast-food chain leading at the forefront of environmental protection isn’t something that happens every day, come September, the “golden arches” will step up to meet consumer demands and reduce their environmental impact. This fall, the fight against plastic pollution gets a win as McDonald’s bans plastic straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Here in the United States, Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day, and the devastating environmental impact these small pieces of plastic have is enormous—taking their toll on our oceans and on animal life. As the push for plastic-free gains momentum in the U.K. and Ireland, however, McDonald’s is stepping up and replacing plastic straws with paper ones—a monumental swap, since the fast food giant uses 1.8 million straws a day at its 1,361 U.K. and Ireland locations.
Last month, the European Union voted to ban 10 popular, single-use plastic items by 2030, including plastic utensils, cotton swabs and straws. The move could take years to go into effect, but the hope is that it will help clean up the plastic pollution in the oceans.
While McDonald’s locations here in the United States have not made a move to ban plastic straws, cities throughout the country are leading the charge, with Seattle being the first major city to ban plastic straws and plastic utensils in restaurants. As consumers across the country become more aware of the plastics pollution crisis, perhaps they can spur McDonald’s—and other restaurants—to follow lead of those in the U.K. and Ireland.
Want to reduce your own environmental footprint and ditch the plastic drinking straws? Discover why these reusable straws are our favorites.