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McDonald’s Is the Latest Restaurant to Ban Plastic Straws

March 28, 2018, 11:40 AM UTC

McDonald’s is jumping on the plastic ban train.

The chain announced Wednesday that it would phase out plastic straws from its 1,300 U.K. restaurants and begin a trial of paper straws in some of its locations starting in May. The fast food chain will also begin keeping straws behind the counter, requiring customers to ask for them.

McDonald’s U.K. CEO Paul Pomroy told Sky News that “customers have told us that they don’t want to be given a straw and that they want to have to ask for one, so we’re acting on that.”

While the existing plastic straws are already fully recyclable, McDonald’s has found that most customers throw them away. More than 8.5 billion single-use straws are used across the U.K. each year.

With the exception of its drink lids, McDonald’s says the majority of its packaging is already recyclable. It hopes to find a solution to a recyclable lid “within the next year.”

McDonald’s joins a growing number of retailers who have decided to do away with plastic straws across the U.K., including pub chain Wetherspoons and Pizza Express. A number of cities across the U.S. have similarly put laws in place limiting or banning the use of plastic straws. Earlier this year, the U.K. announced plans to eliminate avoidable plastic waste in the next 25 years.