The leading burger chain McDonald’s has announced a transition to reducing the plastic used in its iconic Happy Meal toys.
The fast food giant aims to reduce the use of fossil-fuel-based virgin plastic in all Happy Meal toys around the world by the end of 2025.
McDonald’s said it had already reduced its use of virgin fossil fuel plastic in toys by 30% since 2018 – in markets like France, Ireland and the UK. In these markets, McDonald’s has worked on more innovative toys.
McDonald’s Happy Meals for Kids debuted over four decades ago. Over the years, the meals have featured toys related to movies and movie characters, paired with burgers or chicken nuggets, fries, a drink, and apple slices.
Switching to more ârenewable, recycled or certified materialsâ for toys, McDonald’s said in a press release, will result in a 90% reduction in plastics. The chain said it was working with suppliers, families, gaming experts and engineers to introduce “more sustainable and innovative designs and help stimulate demand for recycled materials.”
Jenny McColloch, the chain’s sustainability director, said in a press release that the change in sustainability reflects its next generation of customers who “care deeply about protecting the planet and what we can do. to make our business more sustainable â.
âThe shift to more renewable, recycled and certified materials for our Happy Meal toys will result in an approximately 90% reduction in the use of fossil-fuel-based virgin plastic from a 2018 baseline,â said McColloch. âFor comparison, the average person uses over 220 pounds of plastic per year, which equates to over 650,000 people eliminating plastic from their lives each year. “
In the foreground, the objective will remain to keep the âfunâ in the Happy Meals.
The new toys will still have interactive play, but with plastic play pieces made with plant-derived or recycled materials. Plastic film characters or superheroes such as Batman or Minions will be 3D figures that can be “built and decorated” rather than a plastic figure.
McDonald’s is also looking for ways to recycle old toys to make new restaurant trays and play areas. Recycling of old toys is already happening in the UK and Japan, according to McColloch.
Worldwide, McDonald’s sells over a billion Happy Meals per year.
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