McDonald's plastic straws are becoming something of the past. The fast-food chain announced on Friday, June 15 that it will begin to test replacing plastic straws with paper straws in all of its 1,361 locations in the UK and Ireland as early as September, USA Today reported.

The company estimates that sometime in 2019, the removal of all plastic straws will be complete and customers will not be able to find any in McDonald's in those two countries.

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In the same press release, McDonald's announced it will start replacing the straws in its stores in the United States and other countries later this year.

The fast-food restaurant believes plastic straws, along with other plasticware, will be completely phased out from all its 37,000 locations in over 100 countries by 2025.

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Reasons straws are replaced

When people use a plastic straw, they might not have any idea how such a small item could have a great effect on ocean pollution and the harm it could cause to marine life when the plastic is discarded. Prime Minister Theresa May let the country know about the upcoming ban back in April. Therefore, this comes as no surprise to McDonald's customers in the UK and Ireland.

Other products banned

Plastic straws are not the only product that is being banned. Other items include plastic beverage stirrers and plastic bags. The United Kingdom is the first country to announce a ban over the entire country even though other places have started to do their own testing, The Hill noted.

The average customer had no idea that replacing a straw would be such a long and tedious process.

According to USA Today, people can drink beverages from a cup without using a straw at all. Besides, plastic items don't easily biodegrade like paper.

The newspaper also noted that McDonald's customers use millions of plastic straws every single day. SumOfUs, the activist group, believes removing them from McDonald's is a step in the right direction because other restaurants will probably do the same.

McDonald's will not automatically offer any straw to customers. They will not be left on counters for customers to take one or two.

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In fact, straws will be available only upon request.

McDonald's not alone

McDonald's is not alone when it comes to banning plastic straws.

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Royal Carribean and other cruise lines announced they will do away with them by the end of the year. Alaska Airlines will get rid of theirs starting as soon as July. Straws will no longer be plentiful where they once were. They will also be absent from executive boardrooms and hotels.

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