“I was just telling my daughter that when I was young we always used paper straws.”
McDonald’s is to ban plastic straws at all of its UK restaurants by next year as pressure grows on companies to cut waste.
The burger chain said it will start rolling out a paper alternative in all 1,361 branches from September after customers reacted positively to the change during trials.
“Reflecting the broader public debate, our customers told us they wanted to see a move on straws,” the firm said.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said McDonald’s decision was a “significant contribution” to helping the environment.
“We all have a responsibility to our environment and this simple yet effective initiative is a fine example to other large businesses,” he said.
Between eight and 12 million tonnes of waste plastic are dumped into the oceans each year. 80% of all the plastic pollution comes from Asian countries and their major rivers.
McDonald’s currently uses 1.8m straws a day in the UK.
The company said it had found two suppliers to meet its needs for paper straws, the start-up Transcend Packaging based in Wales, and Huhtamaki, a global company which will produce the straws at its plant in Belfast.
They will use paper coming from certified sustainable sources.
McDonald’s has been conducting trials of paper straws at a handful of venues since April, with the majority of customers supporting the effort to protect the environment.
Other companies making the move away from plastic versions include Burger King, JD Wetherspoon, Costa Coffee, Pizza Express and Wagamama.