McDonald’s is replacing its plastic cutlery with utensils made from renewable FSC certified pressed paper that it claims is fully recyclable and compostable.

The move follows a successful switch by the fast food giant from plastic to paper cutlery in Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the first half of this year.

From today, sustainable knives, forks, and McFlurry spoons will be gradually phased into restaurants across England and Wales – eliminating an anticipated 858 metric tonnes of plastic annually across the UK, McDonald’s said.

It comes after the restaurant chain introduced paper-based straws, new McFlurry cups without plastic lids and developed salad boxes made from card – an action it said had saved 1858 metric tonnes of plastic to date.

McDonald’s UK & Ireland has set a target for all its customer packaging to be made from renewable, recycled or certified sources and be fully recyclable and compostable by 2024.

It has also pledged to achieve net zero emissions across its entire UK and Ireland business and value chain by 2040.

“As a business, we’re committed to taking action on packaging and waste and increasing our use of sustainable materials,” Nina Prichard, head of sustainable and ethical sourcing at McDonald’s, said.

“We’re pleased to announce another step forward in eliminating single-use plastics, and it’s great to be switching our famous McFlurry spoons to this new paper-based material.”

A recent survey found that 64% of consumers believed eating and drinking venues could do more to reduce their environmental impact, with almost a fifth (18%) claiming they could do “significantly more”.

Last month, UKHospitality unveiled its Sustainability Commitment programme aimed at guiding the sector to net zero by 2040.

The strategy comprises 10 pledges in four key areas: waste, supply chain, skills, and biodiversity.