McDonald's is pledging to use more sustainable materials and significantly cut back on the use of plastics in its beloved kids' toys.
For the first time, McDonald's has pledged to use more sustainable materials in Happy Meal toys. On Tuesday, the fast-food company says it plans to significantly reduce the use of plastics in their toys globally. So what can kids expect to open up in their Happy Meals?
Well, instead of plastic figurines, they can get things like 3-D paper-based toys that they can construct themselves. Several other fast-food outlets already do this for their own kids' meal options.
Other options could include board games without plastic pieces, more plush toys, and other creative little surprises.
McDonald's has faced backlash in recent years due to its use of plastics in its Happy Meals worldwide. Their new pledge states they will reduce their plastic use by 90%—that's pretty notable. I can't remember the last time my own kids' Happy Meals didn't come with something made from plastic.
"Today we announced McDonald's ambition to drastically reduce plastics and offer sustainable Happy Meal toys globally by the end of 2025," Jenny McColloch, Chief Sustainability Officer for McDonald's, said in a statement. "Transitioning to more renewable, recycled, and certified materials for our Happy Meal toys will result in an approximately 90% reduction in virgin fossil fuel-based plastic use against a 2018 baseline. For comparison, the average person uses more than 220 pounds of plastic annually, so this is equivalent to more than 650,000 individuals eliminating plastics from their lives each year."
McDonald's chains in the United Kingdom and Ireland no longer include toys made from non-recycled and non-renewable types of hard plastic. In France, they don't use plastic toys at all for their Happy Meals. By utilizing more sustainable materials and less plastic, it not only reduces fossil fuels—it means less plastic will end up in landfills because parents throw those things away less than an hour after they're opened. (Busted! Ha.)
And, you know, if they're looking for ideas for new toys, look no further! As the geriatric millennial that I am, I won't be mad if they do the Beanie Babies thing again, just saying. I hear that Princess Diana one could garner some serious cash someday.