McDonald’s to Switch to Paper Straws in Britain as Country Turns Against Plastic

LONDON — The queen has backed efforts to curb the use of plastics. The Church of England has encouraged a similar push. The British government plans to legislate to require it.

Increasingly, companies here in Britain and elsewhere are joining that campaign, too. On Friday, McDonald’s became the latest to do so. The fast food chain outlined plans to phase out plastic straws across its 1,361 restaurants in Britain, which currently use 1.8 million plastic straws a day, by the end of next year.

The drive to reduce the use of plastics has accelerated considerably in Britain. A million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die from eating or getting tangled in plastic waste each year, according to the British government. But a recent BBC documentary series, “Blue Planet II,” dramatically increased awareness through scenes in which birds traveled thousands of miles to find food for their young only to accidentally feed them plastic.

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