McDonald’s has responded to a viral petition calling on it to cease distributing plastic toys to children in its Happy Meals by committing to exploring more sustainable giveaway options.
The restaurant chain has been spurred to act by a Change.org petition titled ‘Save the environment – Stop giving plastic toys with fast-food kids meals’, which has now drawn 400,000 signatories.
At some locations, specifically the UK, McDonald’s has already begun scaling back the volume of hard plastic toys it dishes out to customers who will be offered a variety of alternatives including board games, books and soft toys while it seeks to gauge wider public feedback.
A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “The reduction in the use of plastics is a very important issue to McDonald’s globally and consistent with our overall Scale for Good packaging and recycling goals. We have an active global working group exploring the production of more sustainable toy options.
“While we cannot provide details of our Happy Meal promotions beyond the end of 2019 at this stage, we remain committed to reducing plastic across our business.”
In common with other big brands McDonald’s has been forced to adapt its business practices in response to growing public revulsion at the global degradation of ecosystems by a failure to recycle, with plastic waste being one of the most visible manifestations of pollution. In response, the chain has switched to paper straws at some locations and eliminated foam packaging worldwide.