Fast food giant McDonald's has announced that it will be axing plastic cutlery in favour of paper-based spoons, knives and forks across England and Wales.

It comes after the restaurant chain hopes to eliminate 858 metric tonnes of plastic each year.

The new cutlery will be fully recyclable and compostable and made from renewable, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified pressed paper, McDonald's has said. 

Previously the chain had already switched to paper-based alternatives across restaurants in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The new cutlery will gradually roll out across England and Wales from Tuesday as it phases out the plastic items.

The move will also include a renewable and compostable McFlurry spoon, which is part of the US-based firm’s sustainability strategy – Plan for Change.

McDonald's says the scheme is part of the goal to achieve net zero emissions across its UK and Ireland businesses by 2040.

With an added target to make sure that its packaging is made from renewable, recycled or certified sources and is fully recyclable and compostable by 2024.

So far the brand has already introduced paper-based straws, new McFlurry cups without plastic lids, and developed salad boxes made from card.

Nina Prichard, head of sustainable and ethical sourcing at McDonald’s, said: “As a business, we’re committed to taking action on packaging and waste and increasing our use of sustainable materials.

“We’re pleased to announce another step forward in eliminating single-use plastics and it’s great to be switching our famous McFlurry spoons to this new paper-based material.”