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McDonald’s pledges to take most plastic Happy Meal toys off the menu by 2025

The planet is about to get even happier about McDonald’s new changes

The days of plastic Pokémon and Peanuts characters in McDonald’s Happy Meals are numbered. The world’s No 1 burger chain has announced it plans to reduce the use of virgin fossil fuels in its popular toys by 90% by the end of 2025.

McDonald’s isn’t toying around when it comes to its sustainability goals. Today it announced that it will drastically downshift the use of plastic in its Happy Meal Toys by 2025. This is the latest significant sustainability commitment from the world’s biggest burger chain.

Since launching in 1979, plastic Happy Meal toys have become a staple of the franchise. Each year it sells more than a billion toys globally bearing the likenesses of the most popular characters of the day.

Now the chain is shifting to plant-derived and recycled materials to offer items such as paper 3D cutouts, books and collectible trading cards. It will also look to plant-based or certified fiber toy wrappers in lieu of using plastic wrap.

The ultimate goal is to achieve an approximately 90% reduction in use of virgin fossil fuels by the end of 2025 compared to a 2018 baseline. The chain says it has already seen significant results in the UK, Ireland and France, where the use of plastic in Happy Meal toys has already been cut by 30%.

McDonald’s has also piloted a program in Japan where it is encouraging patrons to recycle old, unwanted Happy Meal toys. The items receive a second life as plastic serving trays.

“Our next generation of customers care deeply about protecting the planet and what we can do to help make our business more sustainable. We’re always exploring where we can drive greater impact, including the transformation of beloved icons like the Happy Meal,” said Jenny McColloch, McDonald’s sustainability chief. “With this transition for our toys, we’re working closely with suppliers, families, play experts and engineers to introduce more sustainable, innovative designs and help drive demand for recycled materials to keep McDonald’s communities and beyond smiling for generations to come.”

This move comes as the chain has already pledged to produce 100% of its product packaging from renewable, recycled or certifiable sources by 2025. It reported last year that it was already 80% of the way to achieving that goal.

The Golden Arches has also committed to cutting greenhouse emissions produced by its office spaces and 39,000 restaurants by 36% by 2030.

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