McDonald’s UK is to begin phasing out plastic straws across its c1,300 estate, and start piloting paper straws in select sites, according to reports this morning.

The company, which recently reached the 1,000th conversion of a UK restaurant to its new “Experience of the Future” concept, said it was “really close” to the point where all its packaging can be recycled.

“Our plastic straws are already 100 per cent recyclable but, as part of efforts to reduce our impact on the environment we will be piloting paper straws in a small number of restaurants in May, including St. Paul’s,” Jason Clark, chief operating officer, told City AM.

The company will start a trial in May to use paper straws instead of the normal plastic ones.

According to Sky News, it will also try out a scheme where straws are kept behind the counter, and only given out to customers on request.

McDonald’s UK chief executive Paul Pomroy told Sky News: “Customers have told us that they don’t want to be given a straw and that they want to have to ask for one, so we’re acting on that.

“Straws are one of those things that people feel passionately about, and rightly so, and we’re moving those straws behind the front counter.

“The reduction in use of plastics is a hugely important issue for business, for the sector, and for society.

“We’ve been on a journey over the past 10 years with recycling, from taking out foam and polystyrene to where we are now - with Big Mac ‘clam’ boxes that are made with recycled board.

“The only thing left for us to move forward on are the lids that go on to our cups. Those are complicated, but we’re working with our suppliers to find a solution to that.

“We’re really close, so we hope within the next year to be able to have a lid that’s recyclable and serves the same purpose - for hot and cold drinks.”

Separately, Clark told City AM that the UK business had seen “no material change” in finding staff since the Brexit vote.

“It’s going to be a challenge for the industry,” he said. “The reliance of the hospitality industry on people from different parts of Europe, that’s the same situation for us. Have we seen any change? No material change.”