The next time you enjoy an ice cold root beer from A & W in Prince George it might come without a plastic straw.

The long-time burger chain is becoming the first fast-food organization in North America to make this move by the end of the year.

It won’t be long before local residents notice the change.

“I think Prince George residents can expect to see paper straws in the community as early as late September but definitely by the end of October,” says Tyler Pronick, Director of Distribution, Equipment, and Packaging.

Pronick adds the environmentally-friendly move is the latest step for the fast-food change in becoming more green.

“It really dates back to the first drive-in back in 1956 when we served root beer in a glass mug and we looked at other ways to use reusable and compostable packaging to the lineup and the plastic straw was the next item on the journey for us to become more sustainable.”

However, one argument still being made around the plastic straw ban centres around sanitation as more people will be making contact with the glass by using their mouth and lips provided they don’t use a paper straw.

Pronick is confident their cleaning efforts will remain as high as they’ve been in the past.

“It’s certainly not a concern that we share, we’re confident in the processes of the restaurant in terms of the cleaning and those mugs are going to go through a dishwasher after each use so that is not a concern we share but we do respect some people will still want a straw and that’s why we’ll make it available to them if that’s what they would like.”

All 900 locations in Canada should by plastic-free by the end of the year.

The switch will also keep 82-million straws out of landfills each year.

Prince George has five A & W locations including Massey Drive, Southridge Avenue, 20th Avenue, 5th Avenue and the Hart Highway.