June 8, 2018 2:04 pm

A&W Canada set to ditch plastic straws at all locations

A&W Canada announced it will eliminate the use of plastic straws.

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A&W Canada announced Friday that it will ban plastic straws, saying the move will save about 82 million of the single-use products from landfills each year.

The company made the announcement to coincide with World Oceans Day, adding they will be eliminated from stores by the end of the year.

It claims to be the first major fast food restaurant chain in North America to make the move.

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“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, CEO of A&W Canada, said in a press release.

Once plastic straws are phased out, the restaurant will use paper straws that are sustainably sourced and biodegrade within three to six months.

WATCH: Lethbridge restaurant no longer using plastic straws

A&W Canada follows several other companies and governments around the world who have pledged to reduce plastic waste, and specifically eliminate straws, in the past few months.

Several independent restaurants have recently made the promise as well.

Among the companies promising to ditch plastic is IKEA, which said it plans to phase out single-use plastic products from its stores by 2020 in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint.

READ MORE: Ikea plans to ban single-use plastic products by 2020

Last month, the European Union announced proposed plans to ban plastic products like cotton buds, straws and stir sticks.

It is expected to be a topic at the G7 summit in Quebec on Friday as well.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants the other leaders to sign on to a zero-waste plastics charter, setting international deadlines for eliminating plastic waste and committing to helping the developing world meet similar deadlines.

WATCH: Plastic straw ban? Trudeau will look to G7 leaders to take the lead

Trudeau released his own statement on Friday to mark World Oceans Day.

“This year, World Oceans Day coincides with the first day of the G7 Summit, where Canada will bring together world leaders and heads of international organizations to fight climate change and preserve the health and resilience of our oceans, coasts, and seas,” the statement read.

The Trudeau government has not made a formal commitment yet to eliminate plastic waste, but is currently asking Canadians to weigh in on the issue of plastic waste in an online discussion.

READ MORE: Canada reducing (but not banning) use of plastics at G7 in Quebec

Greenpeace Canada has been pushing for more action on the issue. The organization says the plastic pollution crisis has hit an epidemic level and Canada already produces more garbage per capita than any other developed country.

“We want Trudeau and the other G7 leaders to know that in order to get to the real heart of the problem with plastic pollution they really need to address it at the source, and one way to do that is to ban single-use plastics,” said Greenpeace Canada plastics campaigner Farrah Khan.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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