Many children are often more excited — at least initially — about the cheap toy in a fast food kids meal than the actual food. But those little hunks of plastic will now be a thing of the past at U.K. Burger Kings, CNN reports.
Responding to a Change.org petition from British sisters Ella and Caitlin McEwan that received more than 500,000 signatures, the company said it will stop giving out the toys, saving the planet from 320 tons of single-use plastic each year. Earlier this year, the European Union voted to ban single-use plastics by 2021, which may affect the U.K. depending on the outcome of Brexit.
It will be a while until this initiative comes to the U.S. — Burger King said it plans to get rid of non-biodegradable plastic toys in other markets by 2025.
The burger company, which recently rolled out a plant-based Whopper made with Impossible Foods across the U.S., will also place “plastic toy amnesty bins” in U.K. stores for customers to bring their old toys, whether they came from Burger King or not. Burger King has partnered with Pentatonic, a circular economy company, to melt down the toys to make useful items such as play areas and trays.
McDonald’s has also announced a sustainability initiative around plastics toys. The food giant will launch a trial program at U.K. locations where customers can choose a piece of fruit, and eventually a book, instead of a toy. The company hopes to reduce its use of about 1,000 tons of plastic in Britain per year.
While scraping plastic toys is a win for sustainability, fast food restaurants have a long way to go on the sustainability front. After all, they still use plenty of single-use tableware, straws and cups. McDonald’s has pledged to reduce its waste by 2025, while Burger King seems to just be getting started.