In an incredible response to the burning problem of plastic pollution and consumer concern, McDonald’s started to transition all their straws in UK restaurants from plastic to paper straws. But that’s not where the good news ends – soon after revealing their strategy to phase out environmentally damaging straws, the fast food giant has announced their plans to add alternatives to plastic straws in its restaurants all around the world!

All 1,361 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland will benefit from the new anti-plastic straw policy. The transition to eco-friendly options will begin in September 2018 and is set to be completed in 2019, the company wrote in a news release. PLUS the company is going to test alternatives to plastic straws in multiple markets worldwide later this year. It has already started testing plastic-free straws in Belgium and is set to begin testing others in select restaurants in the U.S., France, Sweden, Norway, and Australia later this year.

“McDonald’s is committed to using our scale for good and working to find sustainable solutions for plastic straws globally,” said Francesca DeBiase, Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain, and Sustainability. “In addition to the exciting news from the UK today, we are testing straw alternatives in other countries to provide the best experience for our customers. We hope this work will support industry-wide change and bring sustainable solutions to scale.”

Apart from trying out straws made from alternative materials, McDonald’s will also begin tests to offer straws only upon request in several markets including Malaysia. “We are eager to learn from these tests around the world to develop solutions that are scalable across the globe,” the company said.

The move supports the company’s goal, which is to source 100 percent of guest packaging from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025, as well as to add recycling in all its restaurants globally.

It is estimated that the UK uses around 8.5 billion plastic straws every year and in America, 500 million straws are used every single day. From these statistics alone you can see the massive role plastic straws play in our society. Unfortunately, this huge quantity of straws often ends up polluting the oceans and being ingested by animals. We certainly hope to see plastic straw alternatives here in the U.S., but until then we can all play a role in cutting out excess waste. To find out how you can help the planet by ditching plastic straws and other disposable plastics, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: Daniel Oines/Flickr