UK Burger King Bans Plastic Straws

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CC BY 2.0. Isengardt

A&W; Canada is doing the same too.

When we talk about national efforts like India banning single-use plastic by 2022, it's almost inevitable that we'll get critical comments saying the move isn't being implemented fast enough.

What's often forgotten, however, is that any eventual ban—or even any talk of an eventual ban—sets wheels in motion that tend to take on a momentum all their own.

Even though the UK, for example, has yet to actually finalize a deadline for its much rumored ban, organizations and businesses appear to be assuming the inevitable—and are seeking to get some credit by getting out in front of the problem.

The latest such example is Burger King UK, which celebrated World Oceans Day by announcing the introduction of new biodegradable straws, as well as a policy of only offering lids and straws on request in 70 of its restaurants. (A certain competitor of Burger King has already made this latter move in the UK.)

Meanwhile Business Green reports that the second largest fast food burger chain in Canada, A&W;, has become the first restaurant chain in the country to ban plastic straws. The company has also introduced the (remarkably innovative!) idea of reusable ceramic plates for dine-in customers.

Of course, each of these corporate actions—when taken alone—is nowhere near enough. But they are becoming more common, and more ambitious, all the time. When combined with policy-level efforts at the community, regional, national and international scale, it really does start to look like single-use plastics might finally be having their coal moment. And not a moment too soon...