We never think of it when we grab a straw each time we get a drink.  But those straws add up and are filling our trash dumps and littering our beaches, lakes, rivers and oceans.  Plastic straws may not seem like a huge deal because of how small they are, but National Geographic says "their size makes them one of the most insidious polluters because they entangle marine animals and are consumed by fish."  California and New York City are even considering banning them.

McDonald's is the first major fast-food chain to announce plans to eliminate plastic straws.  They'll start testing alternatives to plastic straws at select locations in the U.S. starting in September. according to USA Today.  One environmental group  estimates that McDonald’s alone dispenses millions of plastic straws every day that customers then throw away when they're done.

McDonald's isn't the only big company eliminating plastic straws. Royal Caribbean has promised to eliminate all plastic straws by the end of this year.  Alaska Airlines will phase them out starting in July, and food services company Bon Appétit Management will stop selling plastic straws by September of next year to their more than 1,000 companies.

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