LONDON  - THE QUEEN has backed efforts to curb the use of plastics. The Church of England has encouraged a similar push. The British government plans legislation to require it.

Increasingly, companies in Britain and elsewhere are joining that campaign, too. Some weeks ago, McDonald's became the latest, outlining plans to phase out plastic straws, by the end of the year in its 1,361 restaurants in Britain.

Currently, those restaurants use 1.8 million plastic straws a day.

The drive to reduce the use of  plastics has accelerated considerably in Britain. A million Birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die from eating or getting tangled in plastic waste each year, according to the British government.

But a recent BBC documentary series, "Blue Planet II," increased awareness with scenes in which  birds traveled thousands of miles to find food for their young only to feed them plastic accidentally.

In previous years, the British authorities have required stores to charge for plastic bags and banned the manufacturing of product containing plastic microbeads.

The government has also proposed going further, with a ban on the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton swabs with plastic stems.

Britain isn't alone in its efforts.


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