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These Kids Want McDonald's and Burger King to Stop Giving Out Plastic Toys

The warnings about the coming ravages of climate change (some of which are here already) get increasingly dire all the time. An increasing number of people are looking for solutions and ways to live in a more sustainable manner...

McDonald's happy Meals plastic petition
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The warnings about the coming ravages of climate change (some of which are here already) get increasingly dire all the time. An increasing number of people are looking for solutions and ways to live in a more sustainable manner. That includes kids. A pair of British children -- Ella and Caitlin -- are taking the threat seriously and are attempting to affect positive change. They've launched a petition asking McDonald's and Burger King to stop using plastic toys in kid's meals. 

The petition at Change.org has garnered more than 375,000 signatures. The nine- and seven-year-old students write in their petition that they have been "learning all about the environment at school and the problem of plastic." They say they like to eat at the burger chains, but "children only play with the plastic toys they give us for a few minutes before they get thrown away and harm animals and pollute the sea." So, they're asking the chains to ditch the toys. It's a plea that was also made last year by UK Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey.

The toys aren't quite single-use plastics, but for many kids, they're not far from it. Additionally, the toys come encased in a plastic bag.

Single-use plastics are a target of many recent campaigns to push businesses into more environmentally sustainable practices. Making toys or other prizes from more sustainable materials shouldn't be impossible, even at the enormous scale that these businesses function. 

Neither company had responded to a request for comment on the petition at the time of publication. However, McDonald's did set up a group to study the environmental impact of Happy Meals last year, reports The Wall Street Journal. The toys are generally made from multiple kinds of plastic, making them difficult to recycle. The group has looked at using renewable materials and making toys from a single plastic to make them easier to recycle.

A spokesperson from Burger King told the publication that BK is looking into "alternative toy solutions," but declined to provide details.

The petition is sure to upset some people who have fond childhood memories of Happy Meal toys, so kudos to a couple of kids willing to stand up for something they believe in. 

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.