FAST food giant McDonald's will start trialling paper straws in May, following growing pressure from campaigners.

The announcement was made by McDonald's chief executive Paul Pomroy last week.

"Customers have told us that they don't want to be given a straw and that they want to have to ask for one, so we're acting on that," he told Sky News.

"Straws are one of those things that people feel passionately about, and rightly so, and we're moving those straws behind the front counter."

Mr Pomroy said a trial period where customers will be asked if they want one of its existing straws - which are recyclable - instead of being offered one automatically, will start this month.

"The other thing we're looking to do is to move to recycled paper on the straws and biodegradable paper straws and that test, I'm really proud to say, will start next month," he said.

"The reduction in use of plastics is a hugely important issue for business, for the sector, and for society."

Mr Pomroy said the firm had moved away from foam and polystyrene boxes over the past decade, opting for cardboard instead.

He said Mc Donald's was also working towards providing recyclable plastic lids for both hot and cold drinks.

More than 380,000 people have signed a petition calling on McDonald’s to stop using single-use plastic straws in its 36,000 restaurants worldwide.

Campaigners have welcomed this latest announcement, but continue to urge the firm to ban plastic straws in other countries too, because of the impact on animals and the environment.

In October, Wetherspoons announced all its 900 pubs would only use biodegradable paper straws from January.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has also suggested that plastic straws could be banned in Britain.

The Marine Conservation Society estimates 8.5 billion straws are used in the UK every year, and the drinking aids are among the top 10 items found in beach clean-ups.