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Wagamama and Pret a Manger announce an end to the automatic providing of plastic straws

Wagamama and Pret a Manger announce an end to the automatic providing of plastic straws

Pret a Manger and Wagamama announced today their intention to end the practice of providing plastic straws automatically.

Customers will be offered a paper alternative, and plastic straws will be available only on request.

The firms' decision comes after Theresa May called plastic waste one of the "environmental scourges of our time".

According to trade organisation Plastics Europe, the UK uses 3.7 million tonnes of plastic a year.

A study by Eunomia Research & Consulting estimates that EU countries use 36.4 billon straws each year.

Pret a Manger - a food outlet with more than 300 stores in the UK - said plastic straws would be kept behind the tills and paper straws would be available to their customers in some stores from next week.

Pan-Asian restaurant chain Wagamama has more than 100 branches in the UK and its chief executive Jane Holbrook said: "We are constantly looking to make improvements and reducing the amount of non-recyclable waste we produce."

Friends of the Earth waste campaigner Julian Kirby welcomed the announcement, saying: "This is significant step in the right direction, but we need far bigger strides from government, industry and retailers to properly tackle the scourge of plastic waste."

Earlier this week, frozen food specialist Iceland announced their intention to eradicate plastic packaging from all of their own brand products.