It is a shared joy for children around the world to separate the golden arches of their Happy Meals to find, next to their burger or McNuggets, a surprise toy to take home and play with. Now, 42 years after the introduction of the first Happy Meal, the global fast food restaurant claims that these toys will soon be almost entirely made from more sustainable materials.
McDonald’s today announced that by the end of 2025, all of its toys will be made from recycled plastic, renewable (plant-based) plastic, certified sustainable fibers, or a blend of these materials in more from 100 countries where he sells Happy Meals. . The toys have already been rolled out in a handful of countries.
McDonald’s has committed to a goal of 90% reduction in fossil fuel-based plastics over the next four years, from its 2018 levels. Simply reducing the number of materials used in toys at the stage of the design will make it easier to retrieve the new list of permitted ingredients. (The chain still expects that small parts that are more difficult to convert to alternatives, mainly bonding and connecting agents, may contain virgin plastics.)
âOf course, we’ll always look to go further than that,â says Jenny McColloch, sustainability manager at McDonald’s.
Although the toys are small, the impact is perhaps not negligible: Happy Meals are more popular than ever, and the company distributes around a billion toys in meals each year. Children will still receive the same type of toys, but plush toys will be made from recycled or plant-based plastics; figures like Batman, Batgirl or Minions will be made from recycled plastic; there will be paper puzzles and coloring books; and building sets will be made from durable fibers. Toy packaging will also be fully sustainable by 2025.
Restaurants in the UK, Ireland and France have already cut virgin plastics in toys by 30%. From this year, for example, British and Irish McDonald’s started to offer soft toys or books made from paper. These tests, according to McColloch, will help determine what works for other markets, including the United States: âWe anticipate that some of these alternative materials will be [in] the US-based toy mix starting this winter.