Products of Change


Mon 27 Sep 2021 | by Rob Hutchins

McDonald's to overhaul Happy Meal toys in global sustainability move

McDonald’s has detailed some major new plans to ‘drastically reduce plastics’ and offer new, sustainable toys with its signature Happy Meal boxes on a global scale by the end of 2025. The move will not only see McDonald’s transition to using more renewable, recycled, and certified materials for its Happy Meal toys, but will also result in an approximate 90 per cent reduction in fossil fuel-based plastic use against the fast food restaurant’s 2018 baseline. For context, this is the equivalent amount of plastic, highlights the McDonald’s team, to that used by more than 650,000 individuals each year. The fast food giant detailed its sustainability measures last week when it shared the news across its social platforms, where it highlighted the role that markets like the UK and France have played in helping the brand to gather early momentum in its charge towards the 2025 deadline.  Recent Happy Meal toy innovations, such as the roll-out of the sustainably made collectable items based on Illumination’s Minions franchise in markets including the UK, Ireland, and France, have helped McDonald’s achieve a 30 per cent reduction in virgin fossil fuel-based plastic use since 2018. The group has now confirmed that it is ‘scaling this effort globally to eliminate even more plastics from our system,’ adding that it is now in early stages of exploring further positive impact beyond the toy. Sharing the latest development from McDonald’s across her own social platforms, Jenny McColloch, chief sustainability officer at McDonald’s, said: “I am extremely proud of the teams involved - and McDonald’s - for helping to lead the charge in sustainable play with these toys of the future. “While our materials are changing, the family fun will stay strong for generations to come.” The new sustainable toy range has been developed in partnership with the experts at The Marketing Store, North America. In her post, McColloch continued: “We’ve assembled a team that extends beyond McDonald’s and includes scientists, toy makers and suppliers. And although they are all experts in their own right, they take their inspiration on this project from one important source - kids. “We’ve listened to families to understand what works best to keep the fun factor high for their board games, classic superheroes and favourite movie character collectables. “For those who know I started my career in inquiry-based science and environmental education, you know this news is especially meaningful for me. To all the design thinkers, STEM educators, and parents out there who love a teachable moment, I hope this move serves as good food for thought to inspire conversations with your kids. "How else might we design toys and family play time to keep up the fun and help the planet? We’d love to hear from you.”