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Major fast-food chain to eliminate plastic straws by year's end

Last Updated Jun 8, 2018 at 12:05 pm PDT

(Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

A&W Canada says it will swap plastic straws for paper ones by the end of this year

Fast-food chain A&W has announced it will eliminate the use of plastic straws by year's end

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Your days of drinking root beer out of a plastic straw at A&W are numbered.

The fast-food chain has announced it’s working to eliminate the use and distribution of plastic straws by the end of this year.

The announcement comes on World Oceans Day and the company says it will offer customers the option of using paper straws, which are 100 per cent “biodegradable, compostable and are sustainably sourced.”

“It’s the right thing to do, we’ve really built a big packaging program on reusable packages, and this is just the next step in our journey and we’re going to continue to identify opportunities like this,” explains A&W’s Tyler Pronyk.

And for anyone worried about their paper straw getting soggy, the company says they can last two to three hours in a drink without breaking down, “but naturally biodegrade in three to six months in the environment.”

The paper straws will be more expensive for A&W, but the company says you’ll still pay the same for a root beer float.

The announcement, made at the Vancouver Aquarium, also comes ahead of the City of Vancouver’s plastic straw ban, which is expected to take effect in June of 2019.

The city’s ban is part of its commitment to become a Zero Waste city by 2040.

“Reducing waste from landfills is a top priority for A&W and this is one big way that we can make a difference,” Susan Senecal, A&W Canada’s President and CEO, says in a release. “We are proud to make this change, which has been driven by the wishes of our guests, franchisees, and staff.”

A&W says moving away from plastic straws will keep 82-million of them out of landfills each year.

Linda Reid, Tyler Pronyk, John Nightingale, and Malcolm Brodie at the A&W straw announcement. (Martin MacMahon, NEWS 1130 Photo)