McDonald’s plans to "drastically” reduce the plastic in its Happy Meal toys worldwide by 2025. The burger giant said Tuesday it’s working with toy companies to develop new ideas, such as three-dimensional cardboard superheroes kids can build or board games with plant-based or recycled game pieces, the AP reports. McDonald’s said it’s also exploring using recycled plastic toys to make new restaurant trays. McDonald’s sells more than 1 billion toys each year. The company says the new goal will reduce virgin plastic use by 90% compared to 2018 levels.
By 2025, the company says, every toy in a Happy Meal will be made from "renewable, recycled, or certified materials like bio-based and plant-derived materials and certified fiber." Already in the United Kingdom and Ireland, McDonald's restaurants are only offering soft toys, paper-based toys, or books. Burger King removed plastic toys from kids’ meals in the UK in 2019. McDonald's also removed plastic toys from its meals in France this year.
Toys make up only a fraction of the plastic used by McDonald's, though the company also aims to get 100% of its packaging from sustainable sources by 2025, NPR reports. "When packaging and plastic waste aren't recovered or recycled correctly, it can have a negative impact on our planet, creating litter and pollution," the company says. McDonald's says it is working to reduce the use of items like plastic straws, bags, and cutlery and it hopes to boost the demand for recycled plastic by using it in trays. (Read more McDonald's stories.)