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McDonald’s is trying to figure out how to stop sucking

McDonald’s is trying to figure out how to stop sucking
[Photo: David Clarke/Unsplash]

Straws suck and McDonald’s is trying to do something about it. Environmental groups estimate that we use more than 500 million plastic straws every day in the U.S. alone. Plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals, and by some estimates, plastics in the ocean will outweigh the fish by 2050.

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In May, McDonald’s will start using drinking straws made from paper in its 1,300 locations in the U.K., and will potentially give customers the choice of whether or not to have a straw at all. (As CNBC points out, not using a straw is a far better choice, environmentally speaking.) The news comes a few months after McDonald’s made a new commitment to sustainability, which could radically alter the amount of trash the world’s biggest restaurant chain produces.

While the fast-food chain claims the plastic straws it uses in most locations are recyclable, we are generally really bad at recycling them—and plastics in general. An estimated 80% of the 6.9 billion tons of plastic waste ever created ends up in landfills or the environment. Across the U.S., many cities including Seattle and Malibu have banned plastic straws outright in a move to protect the planet. Hopefully, McDonald’s will join them and get rid of straws in U.S. locations, too—or at least make them edible.

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