(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Plastic straws may soon become a thing of the past at the Golden Arches. According to Restaurant Business, McDonald’s is testing strawless lids in select U.S. markets, including Minneapolis. The lids come with a pullback tab that keeps the top closed for transport and exposes a half-moon opening for drinking when pulled. The benefits allegedly include easy sipping and no spillage. They’ve also been compared to children’s sippy cups.

McDonald’s actually started phasing out plastic straws in favor of paper ones for environmental reasons back in 2018. That has not gone so well. Customers in the UK complained that the paper straws aren’t user-friendly. Furthermore, the paper straws were not recyclable even though they were supposed to save the planet. Ironically, the plastic ones are.

Eliminating single-use plastics is still a good idea because so much of them end up in the oceans. At the end of 2020, McDonald’s said 25% of restaurants in its 30 largest markets offered customers recycled packaging. The company has pledged to recycle food and beverage packaging in 100% of its restaurants by the end of 2025. This test of the strawless lids alone is expected to reduce 400 metric tons of plastic waste per year, even though the lids themselves are made of plastic.

This plan could work. McDonald’s has seen successful pilots of strawless lids in other countries, including China. In 2018, Starbucks made a commitment to ban plastic straws in its stores worldwide by 2020. The coffee chain followed through by introducing its own strawless recyclable lids across the U.S. and Canada.

Reviews of the strawless lids have been mixed. Today shared some tweets from McDonald’s customers:

  • It's a sippy cup!

  • Does it affect the taste?

  • Slight overreaction...

  • Save the turtles!

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