After a petition calling for McDonald’s and other beloved fast food chains to remove plastic toys from Happy Meals in an effort to protect the environment went viral, the Golden Arches is speaking out. The petition, started on Change.org and titled “Save the environment – Stop giving plastic toys with fast food kids meals,” has received just shy of 400,000 signatures.
“The reduction in use of plastics is a very important issue to McDonald’s globally and consistent with our overall Scale for Good packaging and recycling goals," a McDonald's spokesperson told Pop Culture Media through its brand, ComicBook.com. “We have an active global working group exploring the production of more sustainable toy options.”
“While we cannot provide details of our Happy Meal promotions beyond the end of 2019 at this stage, we remain committed to reducing plastic across our business,” they added.
The chain also pointed out its efforts to reduce plastic at their locations in the United Kingdom, where restaurants will begin reducing the amount of plastic toys given away in their trademark Happy Meals.
“In the UK in particular, there will be a reduction in the number of hard plastic toys given away in comparison to the first half of the year, however, this is not indicative of a new commitment to reduce plastics in Happy Meal toys," the spokesperson said. “This six month promotional period in the UK will provide different options to customers including a mixture of board games, books and soft toys, and serve as a test to understand more about what customers in this market want while we continue to execute our global work."
Created by 9 and 7-year-old’s Ella and Caitlin, the Change.org petition called on Burger King and McDonald’s “to think of the environment and stop giving plastic toys with their kids meals.”
“We like to go to eat at Burger King and McDonald’s, but children only play with the plastic toys they give us for a few minutes before they get thrown away and harm animals and pollute the sea,” it reads. “We want anything they give to us to be sustainable so we can protect the planet for us and for future generations…It’s not enough to make recyclable plastic toys - big, rich companies shouldn’t be making toys out of plastic at all.”0comments
Although McDoanld’s hasn’t said whether or not they may remove plastic toys from their kids’ meals in the future, the chain has been making a strong push in recent years to reduce its environmental impact.
In 2018, the Golden Arches announced plans to “eliminate foam packaging from our global system by the end of” that year. That announcement was followed just months later with the announcement that the chain planned to switch from plastic straws to paper straws at its locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.