Millions of plastic straws are used by fast food customers on a daily basis. They're used maybe once or a few times more before being discarded. Unfortunately, this leads to environmental issues in terms of biodegradability. Now, fast food giant McDonald's is starting to roll out changes in their restaurants, starting in the UK and Ireland, with changes in the United States coming next.

McDonald's replacing plastic straws

A recent USA Today report indicates that environmentalists have been pressuring the fast food giant to be more "eco-friendly." That includes finding better solutions than the plastic straws that are offered for free to customers for sodas, shakes, and other drinks.

In response to the pressure, the company is now implementing changes in the United Kingdom and Ireland. There are 1,361 total restaurants in those particular regions.

The regional rollout to replace plastic straws in the UK and Ireland is scheduled for September. McDonald's will rid their restaurants in those regions of the plastic straws and begin using "more eco-friendly paper straws" in their place. The fast food company's UK Twitter page sent out a video announcement (below) letting customers know of the planned change.

The reason for making this move is due to the fact that single-use plastic straws don't easily biodegrade.

It's also mentioned that customers who get drinks at various fast food establishments, including McDonald's, don't really need single-use straws to enjoy their drinks.

McDonald's franchises in the US and other companies

In a CBS8 news report, they mention that the Chicago-based fast food company will start using alternatives to plastic straws in their U.S.

locations later this year. An exact month or date for the straw changes in US McDonald's restaurants has yet to be given.

Other countries implementing this will include Belgium, France, Sweden, and Norway. In Malaysia, they will reportedly start testing a method of dispensing straws only to those customers who request one. It also appears that McDonald's is one of several companies now committing themselves to being more eco-friendly and responsible when it comes to the environment.

Royal Carribean has said that they plan to ditch straws before the end of 2018. Alaska Airlines has also said they will stop using plastic straws and drink stirrers starting in July. A food service company called Bon Appetite Management indicated that they'll stop using the plastic stirrers and straws at their locations by 2019. The company services over 1,000 locations in the US, including museums and colleges, among other venues.

In addition to all of that, a few state governments will possibly take action on their own. Both New York and California are reportedly in the process of banning plastic straws in their states. Based on all of this, more state governments and businesses may follow the lead of those who are working to help clean up the environment.