"A move on straws" is afoot across the pond, and McDonald's is driving the push. The fast-food chain is nixing plastic straws and moving to paper in all of its Ireland and United Kingdom restaurants in what the UK's environment secretary calls a "significant contribution" to going green, the BBC reports. Those locations currently use 1.8 million plastic straws per day. The straw switchover will start in September and be fully in place by 2019. The initiative comes after a trial run there, and new paper-straw trials are set for some McDonald's locations in France, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and the US, CNBC notes.
CNNMoney notes that, per trash-mapping app Litterati, plastic straws are the sixth most common type of litter in the world. Only about 1% of plastic straws are recycled, and, because of their combination polypropylene-polystyrene makeup, they can take hundreds of years to decompose. Some advocates say plastic straws are safer for certain customers with disabilities, but McDonald's says the plastic versions will still be available upon request "for those that require it."