- McDonald’s will start testing plastic straw alternatives at select US locations this year. In the UK, the company has decided to adopt biodegradable paper straws.
- The announcement comes amid calls from environmental activists urging McDonald’s and other food conglomerates to ditch plastic straws.
- Several US cities have already enacted their own bans.
Following calls from environmentalists, McDonald’s is now testing alternatives to plastic straws in the US.
The fast-food giant will trial them at select locations later this year, according to USA Today. No word on what the straws will be made of, but the announcement follows news that McDonald’s will adopt paper straws at every UK location by 2019.
Because plastic straws are tiny and don’t easily biodegrade, they can commonly slip through the cracks of a city’s waste-recycling process, clogging ponds, rivers, and oceans. And unlike their plastic counterparts (forks, takeout containers, plastic bags, etc), straws don’t really offer a purpose besides a bit of convenience.
Some American cities have started cracking down on single-use straws. In 2012, Miami Beach banned hotels from serving straws, because they often ended up on the sand and in the water, threatening marine life. (Fort Myers, Florida and Seattle took the same steps in January 2018.) New York City, as well as cities in Hawaii and California, also have pending straw ban legislation.
Nationwide, McDonald’s distributes millions of drinks every day, which means many of their straws have likely ended up in the wild.