Canadian Plastics

McDonald’s ‘drastically reducing’ virgin plastics used in Happy Meal toys

The company plans to complete its global transition to more sustainable materials for Happy Meal toys by the end of 2025.

September 22, 2021   Canadian Plastics

Image Credit: McDonald’s

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant company, has announced plans to cut the amount of virgin plastic in the toys in its Happy Meals.

In a Sept. 21 news release, McDonald’s officials said the transition to more renewable, recycled or certified materials for toys is already underway and will result in an approximately 90 per cent reduction in virgin fossil fuel based plastic use against a 2018 baseline – which the company says is “nearly the equivalent to the population of Washington, DC”.

The company’s plan is to offer sustainable Happy Meal toys globally by the end of 2025.

In some cases, McDonald’s said, toy characters that used to be plastic figurines may reappear as 3D figures that can be built and decorated; in other instances, like board games, virgin fossil fuel-based plastic game pieces may be swapped out in favor of accessories made from certified plant-derived or recycled materials. “Beyond composition of the toys, the business has also explored recycling old toys into new restaurant trays, and replacing plastic wrappers on the toys with new plant-based and premium certified fiber packaging,” McDonald’s said.

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Since 2018, Happy Meal toy innovations already underway in markets around the world such as the UK, Ireland and France have already resulted in a 30 per cent reduction in virgin fossil fuel based plastic use, McDonald’s officials said.


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