McDonald's to 'drastically' cut plastic in Happy Meal toys

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McDonald’s says it plans to drastically cut the use of plastic in its Happy Meals toys, despite releasing a new line of plastic figurines in the US.

The move is part of a plan to reduce its plastic waste by 90 per cent by 2025.

The burger joint announced its plan to move toward more eco-friendly toys in its kids’ meals. 

The fast food giant’s new toys will be made out more sustainable materials such as recycled cardboard and plant-based materials.

With more than 5,000 Happy Meals sold each minute, according to CBS, a lot of plastic goes out the doors and into the homes and garbage cans of families across the world. 

The announcement comes despite the US chains’ latest collection of 50 plastic Disney figurines celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. 

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Children enjoying a Happy Meal in the UK, Ireland, and France can already enjoy the more sustainable toys. Other countries, like the US, will have to wait a few years before seeing these toys pop up in stores. 

McDonald’s new sustainable toy line includes a fun, little alligator, which will be made out of plant-based materials and a squishy Batman, which is being made out of sustainable cloth.

Other options include superhero models made out of recycled cardboard.

McDonald’s Chief Sustainability Officer Jenny McColloch told their Happy Meal Superfan Kiran that the company is moving away from a ‘particular type of plastic’ made from virgin fossil fuels. 

‘Virgin fossil fuels plastic means it can cause pollution, so what we’re doing is helping to shift to materials that are reusable materials or are grown from plants. And that way, we can reduce pollution and help the planet,’ she said in a video released by the company.  

The iconic Happy Meal has been served since 1979 and this isn’t the first revamp the meal has seen. 

In 2018, the kid’s meal was redesigned to serve food with fewer calories, sodium, and saturated fats. 

The chain started working toward removing all artificial flavor and color from its kid’s meals in 2018 and plans to complete this by 2022, according to Mashed

The Golden Arches also started offering low-fat milk and juice options in the early 2000s to curb children consuming high calories drinks, like Coke Cola and Sprite. In 2018. the company announced that 50 per cent of its Happy Meals were sold with milk or juice. 

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McDonald’s also swapped out cookies for apple slices in 2004, to promote a healthier option and plans on making all its Happy Meals under 600 calories. 

The three Happy Meal options currently sold in the US range from 395 to 475 calories.  

Other chains, like Burger King, have already removed plastic toys from its kids’ meal in the UK, according to CBS. 

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