The familiar item McDonald's has started to phase out

McDonald's has announced it will begin phasing out a familiar item in a bid to be more environmentally friendly.

Over 1300 restaurants in the UK will begin trialling biodegradable paper straws and phase out their plastic ones from May, the Metro reports.

The fast-food giant will also be trialling a scheme where they keep the straws behind the counter and customers will have to ask for them if they want to.

McDonald's stores in the UK will begin phasing out plastic straws. Source: AAP / File photo
McDonald's stores in the UK will begin phasing out plastic straws. Source: AAP / File photo

Chief executive Paul Pomroy said it's all about helping the environment.

"We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and we can, and want to, be part of the solution – our straws are already 100 per cent recyclable, but we know more can be done," he said in a statement.

Mr Pomroy added that in the UK alone, around 8.5 billion plastic straws are used each year. He added that the company has had recycling units installed in over 1000 of the restaurants since 2015.

Since Mr Pomroy took over as chief executive, McDonald's has reduced the amount of sugar and salt in its products and also introduced a range of premium products in the UK.

A spokesperson for McDonald's Australia told Yahoo7 the company will be monitoring the progress of the trial in the UK closely.

"We will take the learnings from them before determining what impact it will have on our market," the spokesperson said.

Over the years, McDonald's Australia has introduced plastic salad bowls that are made from fibre-based materials, 100 per cent recycled fibre to their carry-out bags, and removed plastic lids from the McFlurry cups in 2012.

Meanwhile, Taiwan has recently announced it is going to ban the use of plastic bags, straws and utensils.

One of the farthest-reaching bans on plastic in the world, all plastic will be gone from the country by 2030.

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