McDonald’s has finally joined the effort to curb disposable plastics in the fast food industry. The company’s UK restaurants are set to phase out plastic straws and replace them with a paper alternative!

The fast-food giant now has around 1,300 restaurants in the UK, Huffington Post reports. The new paper straws will be piloted in a few locations starting in May 2018. Even though the plastic straws currently used in McDonald’s are technically recyclable, many customers simply throw them away. Thankfully, the introduction of biodegradable paper straws will help solve this issue.

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Apart from the paper straw trial, in some locations, McDonald’s customers will have to specifically ask for a straw, to test if keeping straws behind the counter, instead of giving them out automatically with every order, reduces waste.

“[T]he reduction and use of plastics is a hugely important issue – for our business, for the sector and for society,” said Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s UK CEO.

According to Pomroy, the company has yet to find a way to make plastic lids on drinking cups more sustainable. “Those are complicated, but we’re working with our suppliers to find a solution to that,” he said speaking to Sky News.

It is estimated that the UK uses around 8.5 billion plastic straws every year, reports the Marine Conservation Society. In the past year, a number of major bar, pub, and restaurant chains, like Wetherspoons and Wagamama, have taken a step in the right direction and committed to phasing out plastic straws. McDonald’s joining in will be a game-changer – and, hopefully, will lead to the change happening in the company’s restaurants in other countries.

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: deedsofthedanes/Flickr