Two young girls in the U.K. are asking McDonald's and Burger King to stop offering plastic toys with kids meals. Why? Because after playtime is over, they pile up in the landfill. Organizer Rachael Wood and her daughters, Ella and Caitlin, created an online petition, where they've collected more than 336,000 signatures from those in support of nixing the knicknacks.
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The body of the petition was written in the voice of Ella and Caitlin, who are aged 9 and 7. After learning about plastic's effect on the environment in school, they began to push for eco-friendly toys because it made them sad to see how plastic harms the Earth and its creatures.
"We like to go to eat at Burger King and McDonald's, 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," the sisters said. "We want anything they give us to be sustainable so we can protect the planet for us and for future generations."
Instead of asking the fast food chains to make new toys from recyclable plastic, Ella and Caitlin are asking "big, rich companies" to not make toys from plastic at all. After hearing what the girls had to say, Burger King reportedly began working on a solution. In an episode of BBC 1's "War on Plastic" a spokesperson said: "We are trialing the removal of toys and working on the development of alternatives, our goal being to have a more sustainable toy solution in place by 2020. In the meantime, we'd like to applaud Ella and Caitlin for their initiative."
In an email to The Daily Meal, a McDonald's spokesperson said that plastic reduction is important to the company and that staffers are actively exploring ways to produce more sustainable toy options. In the U.K., the chain plans to cut back on hard plastic toys given away in the second half of the year to see what customers prefer. For six months only, options will include a mixture of board games, books and soft toys.
It's unclear whether or not the chain is looking to resume handing out hard plastic toys should the trial go awry, though there has been an effort to cut back on waste in most other areas of the business. Last year, McDonald's announced it would test paper straws in several global markets including the U.S. and the U.K., and by the end of 2025, 100 percent of the company's fiber-based packaging will come from renewable, recycled or Forest Stewardship Council-certified sources. Currently, 70 percent of the chain's packaging meets those requirements. Foam cups are just another McDonald's menu item you'll never see again.