JD Wetherspoons has announced it will stop using plastic straws across its 900 pubs in the UK and Ireland by the end of this year, in a bid to curb plastic pollution.
Instead it will switch to biodegradeable paper straws, with staff at the pub chain reducing the use of plastic straws during the transition, the firm said earlier this week. Wetherspoons believes the decision will stop 70 million plastic straws being used every year.
Plastic straws take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Billions end up in landfill or the world’s oceans each year, often causing serious damage to the health of seabirds and other marine animals.
“These changes are part of an overall commitment from the company to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste produced,” chief executive John Hutson said. “We believe that Wetherspoon pub-goers will welcome this.”
It follows a similar move from rival bar chain All Bar One, which promised earlier this year to ban plastic straws at all its UK bars, a pledge it said would avoid the use of 4.7 million plastic straws a year.
Meanwhile, governments across the UK are stepping up action against plastic waste.
Scotland has recently announced plans to trial a bottle deposit scheme to cut plastic bottle waste, while the UK government said it will ban the use of microbeads – tiny plastic balls – in cosmetic products.