McDonald’s could be forced to discontinue their iconic Happy Meal toys in the UK, as part of a new Government crack-down on single-use plastics.
Following the 5p charge for carrier bags, and plans to phase out the use of plastic straws and bottles from next year, the Environment Minister, Therese Coffey, has announced the potential ban on the plastic toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals.
Happy Meal toys
During a panel discussion on plastic waste, ahead of a major Government announcement on its waste reduction ad recycling strategy, Ms Coffey said: “I desperately want McDonald’s to give up their Happy Meal toys.
“And change them to be all about what can you do on you iPad or smart phone, rather than a piece of plastic that lasts for about five minutes and then takes five centuries to degrade.
“So there are certain things we can get companies to do that I think would be a symbolic change, even if the amount of plastic involved is not actually that much.”
In a statement, a McDonald’s spokesperson said: “The reduction and use of plastics is a hugely important issue – for our business, for the sector and for society.
“We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and we can, and want to, be part of the solution – for example with our move from recyclable plastic straws to paper.
You asked, we listened. Paper straws will be rolling out to all UK restaurants from this September! pic.twitter.com/7aWiilabBB
— McDonald's UK (@McDonaldsUK) June 15, 2018
“We know that our Happy Meal toys provide fun for children and families playing in our restaurants, but also provide many more fun filled hours at home for a long time too.
“When families are finished playing with them, they can also be recycled. At points in the year we also offer book promotions swapping out toys for books.
“Parents can also use the vouchers printed on their child’s Happy Meal box to purchase a book for £1 or download an eBook for free.”
It comes after the Government announced the potential ban on wet wipes as part of its drive to stop plastic being thrown away and damaging ecosystems.
A spokesman for The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “As part of our 25-year environment plan we have pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, and that includes single-use products that include plastic such as wet wipes.
“Our focus for wet wipes is to work with manufacturers and water companies to develop a product that does not contain plastic and can be safely flushed.
“We are also continuing to work with industry to make sure labelling on the packaging of these products is clear and people know how to dispose of them properly.”