McDonald’s ditches plastic Happy Meal toys in favor of renewable and recycled materials

McDonald’s announced this week its intention to phase out plastic Happy Meal toys in favor of those made from corn and other “renewable, recycled, or certified materials,” NPR reports. The transition has already begun in some international markets; in France, its stores ditched plastic toys for paper-based items such as cards, coloring sheets, or books.The company projects it will complete its global shift by 2025. McDonald’s claimed the change meant a 90 percent reduction of “fossil-fuel based plastic” in its toys; the fast-food giant said that alone would be equivalent to more than 650,000 people abstaining from plastic for one year. But Happy Meal toys are a minuscule part of the global corporation’s environmental footprint, as well as its plastic use. McDonald’s said its next move is to source all of its customer packaging from renewable and recycled sources in the next four years. No word on what McDonald’s intends to do to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the billions of burgers it slings each year, though. Beef generates 60 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of meat produced, the largest carbon footprint of any animal-based food or otherwise.

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