Cutting Plastic Toy Waste

Both Burger King and McDonald’s are removing plastic toys from children’s meals in the UK to reduce waste.

September 23, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va—Two of the biggest fast food giants, McDonald’s and Burger King, announced that they are aiming to reduce waste by either removing all plastic toys from children’s meals or allowing customers to swap them out.

Yahoo News reports that Burger King in the United Kingdom will save an estimated 320 tons of waste every year by making the change. The move comes after a petition called on fast food companies to reduce or eliminate the use of plastic toys in children’s meals. The petition attracted half a million signatures.

CNBC says the company is also installing “plastic toy amnesty bins” in its U.K. restaurants, which allows customers to return or give away plastic toys so they can be reused. The idea is to turn the recycled plastic toys into items for restaurant play areas or items such as trays. By 2025, the company wants packaging to be 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable.

McDonald’s, on the other hand, says it is giving customers the option of swapping plastic toys for fruit bags or books. The fruit bag will be available next month, while the books will be available early next year.

This is just one eco-friendly move for McDonald’s. It has rolled out paper straws, removed McFlurry plastic lids and eliminated single-use plastic from salad containers—all of which will reduce waste by 1,005 metric tons annually.