McDonald’s says it plans to make its toys less harmful to the environment

By Alma Fabiani

Published Sep 24, 2021 at 11:42 AM

Reading time: 1 minute

22955

As a child growing up in Paris, going to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal was a rare experience, which meant that when it occasionally happened, I was so excited I could have eaten anything given to me. Sure, being allowed to eat fast food was part of the thrill, but what truly mattered to me were the little toys that always came with the red cardboard box. I’m sure you felt that same joy at some point in your life—hopefully at an age where it’s still somewhat acceptable to order a kids’ meal.

What none of us suspected at the time however, is how bad of an impact these seemingly harmless plastic toys have on our environment. As you can imagine, McDonald’s billion-odd plastic toys it produces every year equates to a lot of toxic material that ends up in landfills.

So far, the fast food company says it’s slashed use of virgin plastic (plastic that is newly made) by 30 per cent worldwide since 2018. Now, it has announced a goal to cut 90 per cent of the virgin plastic it uses in its toys, as reported by CNBC.

Although effort should always be rewarded, some have argued that offering toys at all is “a negative that has helped support a global obesity epidemic,” as Input wrote. Fair enough, back in 1979 when it was first introduced, it was brilliant marketing. Nowadays, not so much. On its mission to restore its brand’s image, McDonald’s has also revamped its Happy Meal options to make them lower in calories, sodium, saturated fat, and sugar.

It goes without saying that research has proven that children are significantly more likely to select healthier meals when toys are offered with them. Keeping that in mind, many critics have argued that selling toys with unhealthy meals should then be banned.

Kids are easily influenced, making them more vulnerable to learning bad (or good) habits. And in the case of McDonald’s Happy Meal, healthy behaviours aren’t exactly being taught. Sugars and fats are addictive and keep most of us coming back years after the toys have lost their appeal. Still, it’s better than nothing.

The company says some toys, like board game pieces, will be made from plant-derived or recycled material. Other toys, like movie characters, will be turned into simple 3D cutouts rather than plastic figurines. It also plans to drop the plastic wrapping. The first sustainable toys have already been introduced in markets including the UK and Ireland, with McDonald’s stating that the US will see its first such sustainable toys by January 2022.

Keep On Reading

By Charlie Sawyer

Doritos faces boycott over new trans brand ambassador’s alleged tweet about 12-year-old

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

What just happened? Breaking down the most viral moments from the Biden-Trump debate

By Abby Amoakuh

New Alabama bill to add rape exception to abortion ban and punish rapists with castration

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

A woman in Nigeria is facing three years in prison after reviewing a can of tomato puree

By Charlie Sawyer

Performers like Grace Campbell and Sophie Duker are boycotting Latitude Festival 2024, here’s why

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Is Kylie Jenner broke? New conspiracy theory suggests the billionaire might be out of cash

By Abby Amoakuh

Tories delete ad attacking Sadiq Khan after using New York footage instead of London’s

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Shocking investigation reveals London special school pupils tortured in so-called calming rooms

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

UK landlords to ban tenants from having sex with new no-sex tenancy clauses

By Abby Amoakuh

VICE obituary: How Gen Z will remember the millennial digital media titan

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Julia Fox’s recent fashion statement sparks intense criticism from FGM survivors

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Why was Melania Trump not at the Manhattan courthouse with her husband?

By Charlie Sawyer

AOC held hands with Joe Biden one time, now sexists are calling her a sell-out

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Problematic P Diddy Nickelodeon cameo surfaces following house raids and Quiet On Set documentary

By Charlie Sawyer

A guide on how to save on your energy bills after CEO of British Gas owner admits he can’t justify his £4.5M salary

By Charlie Sawyer

An acoustic guitar and the first chords of Wonderwall aka every girl’s worst dating nightmare

By Charlie Sawyer

Dua Lipa fan and Nicki Minaj fan get into a real-life standoff over internet beef

By Charlie Sawyer

Why is #FreeLiamNissan trending on Twitter and what does Elon Musk have to do with Liam Neeson?

By Abby Amoakuh

The central feminist issue for the UK general election? Nudify apps and image-based abuse

By Charlie Sawyer

Shia LaBeouf’s Cannes Film Festival comeback confirms that if they lay low for long enough, the industry will forgive abusers