Our kids love their McDonalds’ Happy Meal toys but they’re a novelty for all of 5 minutes and generally end up in the bin the next day. So the fast food giant is on a mission to cut down on plastic waste and are appealing to our kids to help them ditch Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s has shared that it will start a trial next month in a select number of outlets, starting in the UK, where the plastic toy can be substituted for a fruit bag. Kids will be able to choose whether they want to receive a toy or fruit bag. There are also plans afoot to swap toys for books from next year, as reported in the Daily Mail.

Happy Meal Books

McDonalds did introduce a Happy Meal book initiative earlier this year, which was very well received. During this 6-week program, free Roald Dahl books were given with every Happy Meal box. And more recently, my kids were pretty pleased with their Diary Of A Wimpy Kid activity book. Although to be honest, they’ll always pick the silly plastic toy over a book anyday (but maybe that’s just my kids).

Plastic Toys Are Banned At Burger King

Burger King is going a step further and has announced that they will be completely removing all plastic toys from its King Junior Meals in every store in the UK as of now.

Burger King claims their project will save an estimated 320 tonnes of single use plastic annually.

“It is impossible to ignore the growing problem excessive plastic waste is causing and we are glad to be taking action,” said Katie Evans, Marketing Director at Burger King UK.

It looks like our local Burger King outlets will soon follow suit in this eco-venture.

“We are a global brand, and the UK market will be leading the way in making this first step towards change, which is part of our wider commitment on reducing plastics. Work is currently underway across all of our markets to look at how we can completely move away from non bio-degradable plastic toys by 2025,” added Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Burger King.

Plastic-Busting Programs

McDonald’s have put in place a number of plastic-reducing projects. Including making the change from plastic straws to paper alternatives, removing the plastic lids of McFlurrys and single-use plastic from its salads.

It’s target is to reduce its plastic waste by more than 1,000 metric tonnes a year and says the cumulative effort of these moves will it help achieve that.

“We care passionately about the environment, and we have a commitment to reducing plastic across our business – that includes the Happy Meal,” said Paul Pomroy, the CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland.

Kids Can Choose!

“We recognise that some people may not want a plastic Happy Meal toy, but we also know that the gifts provide fun for many families and children. That’s why we’ll be running these trials, in order to give our customers a choice; they also can choose not to have a toy or gift at all.”

“It’s important we understand what our customers want and we’ll learn a lot from whether they choose a fruit bag or a book over a toy. At the same time, we will be evolving what the toy or gift is – new authors as part of Happy Readers, paper-based toys and board games.”

“We know that our Happy Meal is much loved by our customers so any changes need to be carefully considered.”

Would you kids pick a fruit bag over a plastic toy? Is this a good move for the fast food giants? Tell us in the comments below.

More On Mouths of Mums


  • Book idea sounds good but I think businesses just need to keep making steps in the right directions and make it easier for consumers to use less plastic.

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  • I would prefer a book

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  • I would prefer a book instead of a toy, but other would prefer the toy or the fruit. If theres a choice then everyone is kept happy! I dont eat here so it doesn’t bother me, but each to their own!

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  • I like the book idea!

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  • If my kids got to choose they’d still pick the toy, but if be happy if they just didn’t include the toy.

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  • I order at Maccas so I would choose the fruit bag over the toy any day. The book idea is brilliant, would be great if it returned. Or maybe follow Woolworths lead and have something like seed growing packs?


    • Oh yes I agree. Love the Woolies seed packs. Would be a great idea.

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  • Yay!! We’re outside the age-range now but great to see alternatives. And loving the change to recyclable materials. There is so much wastage and landfill with their packaging.

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  • I don’t buy happy meals often.

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  • I believe that books are a great alternative however, half the fun of going to maccas as a kid was seeing what toy you got in your happy meal :)

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  • Books is a great idea

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  • I am keen on the book concept as an alternative to plastic toys.

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  • It would be interesting to see what my son chooses..

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  • My kids don’t know McDonald’s exists.

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  • great news

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  • KFC ditched their toys yeara ago…good call to ditch them as most of ours get thrown any way after a while

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