McDonald’s UK and Ireland have announced steps that will help the fast food chain remove more than 3,000 metric tons of plastic from its business.
Acting on a petition started by two schoolgirls last year, McDonald’s UK & I will start phasing out plastic from its Happy Meals in a bid to become more eco-friendly and sustainable.
Starting this month, plastic packaging from Happy Meal toys will be swapped with paper-based packaging.
From May, outlets in the UK and Ireland will offer customers the option to choose between a toy or book for every Happy Meal purchased.
In the same month, the business will also initiate a five week ‘toy amnesty’ so that customers can return their unwanted plastic toys to any of its 1,350 sites across the UK. The returned toys will be recycled and made into new equipment for Ronald McDonald House Charities in the UK and Ireland.
For the environment
“We care passionately about the environment and are committed to reducing plastic across our business including within our Happy Meal,” said Gareth Helm, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of McDonald’s UK and Ireland.
“Families have high expectations of us and we’re working as hard as we can to give them the confidence that their Happy Meal is as sustainable as possible.
“Getting that right is a big responsibility, but we believe the changes we’re making today have the potential to make a big difference.”
McDonald’s claims its new sustainability initiatives will remove more than 3,000 metric tons of plastic from its supply chain.
It added that by August, the restaurant chain will start using paper packaging to wrap books in Happy Meals, which will further help remove 200 tonnes of plastic from the business by 2021.
According to McDonald’s, this has been the brand’s biggest effort to reduce plastic and the fast food chain is “committed to sustainable sourcing and to exploring the production of more sustainable Happy Meal Toys”.
Depending on its success, the company will roll out the programme to other franchises globally.
“We are excited to use learnings from these initiatives in the UK and Ireland and other market sustainability programmes to inform our global approach,” said Keith Kenny, vice president of McDonald’s Global Sustainability.
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