McDonald's Happy Meal toys to be plastic-free by 2025

The change is already underway in some countries, including the United Kingdom and France

McDonald’s unveiled plans Tuesday to "drastically reduce" its use of plastic for toys included in its trademark Happy Meal as part of a company-wide sustainability push.

The fast-food chain said it would shift from fossil fuel-based plastics to sustainable recycled and renewable materials. The change is already underway in some countries, including the United Kingdom and France, and will be "phased in across the globe by 2025," according to the company.

"Making our toys out of renewable, recycled or certified materials will result in about a  90% reduction of fossil fuel-based plastic in Happy Meal toys, from a baseline of 2018," McDonald’s said in a statement. "For perspective, that’s more or less the size of the entire population of Washington, D.C., eliminating plastics from their lives for a year."

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The shift toward sustainably-made Happy Meal toys followed years of pressure on major corporations to cut down on plastic waste due to environmental concerns. McDonald’s said the change will be equivalent to "more than 650,000 individuals eliminating plastics from their lives each year."

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In 2018, McDonald’s established an internal task force to assess ways to limit the environmental impact of Happy Meal toy production, the New York Times reported.

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McDonald’s has pledged to source 100% of its guest packaging materials, such as straws, bags and cutlery, from recyclable materials by the year 2025. The company says more than 80% of its materials are currently recyclable.