McDonald's has said that they plan to ditch single use plastic straws from all of their restaurants across Ireland and the UK.
McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is planning to test eco-friendly straws in the US later this year.
"Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws", Paul Pomroy, the chief executive of McDonald's United Kingdom and Ireland, said.
The government warned earlier this year that plastic straws, along with other single-use plastic items such as cotton buds, could be banned as part of its efforts to cut marine pollution.
The chain may be forced to phase out plastic straws whether they want to or not.
The Chicago-based fast-food chain said it has been dabbling in disposable-straw alternatives in Belgium, too.
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A straw, which is used for only 20 minutes on average, can take more than 200 years to break down into smaller pieces and often does not fully disintegrate.
"The drive to eliminate plastic straws is a good step and it's symbolic - and symbols are important", he said. Only about 1% of plastic straws are recycled, and, due to their combination polypropylene-polystyrene makeup, they can take hundreds of years to decompose.
Plastic straws enable many disabled people to drink independently, according to Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
McDonald's said it had listened to customer concerns, and the phase-out would begin in September, completing at some point in 2019.
McDonald's said that plastic straws would still be available "for those that require it", but they will be kept behind the counter.
"The government's ambitious plans, combined with strong customer opinion, has helped to accelerate the move away from plastic and I'm proud that we've been able to play our part in helping to achieve this societal change".