McDonald’s to cut plastic toys in its Happy Meals

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 offering three-dimensional cardboard superheroes kids can build or board games with plant-based or recycled game pieces. McDonald’s said it’s also exploring using recycled plastic toys to make new restaurant trays.

McDonald’s won’t say how many Happy Meals it sells each year. But it said the new goal will reduce its virgin plastic use by 90% compared to 2018 levels. 

With more than 5,000 Happy Meals reportedly sold every minute, McDonald’s is considered one of the largest toy distributors in the world. 

McDonald’s restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland already are offering only soft toys, paper-based toys or books, as the result of local petition drives calling on the chain to stop including plastic toys in its kids’ meals, the Wall Street Journal reported

Plastic-based promos

McDonald’s latest toy promotion features 50 plastic figurines with plastic stands to celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. Earlier this year, the kids’ meals included one of a collection of plastic Looney Toon characters, including a LeBron James character, to promote the release of “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” a sequel to the ’90s kids’ film starring Michael Jordan.

Burger King removed plastic toys from kids’ meals in the U.K. in 2019.