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A big change is coming to McDonald's drinks in some US cities

The fast food chain is phasing out plastic straws at all locations in the U.K.
by Erica Chayes Wida / / Source: TODAY

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Paper or plastic? This time, it's not about grocery bags.

As more and more environmentalists are warning against the mounting problems associated with plastic waste, McDonald's is making a big change to its drinks.

The fast food giant announced Friday it will replace plastic straws in all of its restaurants (that's over 1,300 locations) throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland by 2019.

The initiative — which is part of its 2025 goal of sourcing guest packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources — will start in September.

But the change won't only affect stores across the pond. Select McDonald's locations in the U.S. will begin testing plastic alternatives later this year, as well in France, Sweden, Norway and Australia. The chain has not announced which U.S. markets will be affected by the test. The company has already initiated testing alternatives in Belgium. In several markets, including Malaysia, the chain will only offer straws to customers if they ask for them.

McDonald's has received plenty of praise across social media for its decision.

Others, however, are not as enthused by the new "soggy alternative."

Some suggested using "branded, collapsible, reusable straws" instead of the paper ones.

And others shamed other fast food restaurants that haven't ditched (or made any promises to get rid of) the plastic.

The company's initiative to replace some of its plastic waste isn't the only thing the chain is shaking up in the space. Earlier this year, the Big Mac maker announced it would cut the cheeseburger from its Happy Meals. It also added a fresh (never frozen) beef burger to menus nationwide and, last year, tested a vegan burger in Finland.

Now, both health-conscious and environmentally-conscious consumers are on Ronald McDonald's mind.

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