Thanks To A Petition, Burger King Will No Longer Use Single-Use Plastic Toys 

Image by Audrey Shtecinjo / Stocksy

In July, two little girls made headlines for starting a petition. Their goal? To convince fast-food restaurants to get rid of the plastic toys they often include in kids' meals. Caitlin and Ella, ages 7 and 9, wrote a letter on their Change.org page explaining that while they like to eat at establishments like Burger King and McDonald's, they only play with the hard, plastic toys for a few minutes before they get thrown away, which can be damaging to the environment and wildlife. "We want anything they give to us to be sustainable so we can protect the planet for us and for future generations... It's not enough to make recyclable plastic toys—big, rich companies shouldn't be making toys out of plastic at all," they wrote.

Well, over 550,000 people signed the petition. And just in case you needed more proof that even the smallest among us can make a difference, Burger King just announced that it will remove plastic toys from all King Junior meals in the U.K., where the girls are from. According to a news release from the company, the move will save 320 tonnes of plastic each year. Burger King locations will even start collecting old single-use plastic toys—not just from BK but also from competitors and other sources, such as toys from magazines or cereal boxes—in exchange for a free King Junior meal.

Burger King is partnering with Pentatonic, a recycling company that specializes in inventing new materials out of human trash. According to BK, all plastic toys collected in their new amnesty bins will be "separated, sorted, cleaned, chipped and then transformed into play areas and other everyday restaurant items including trays to give them a new lease of life." This means they are not only cutting down on single-use plastic toys, but they are also replacing new plastic that would have been purchased.

No word yet on whether this specific policy will extend to the U.S. and other areas of the world, but Burger King corporate has committed to switching to 100% reusable, compostable, or recyclable packaging by 2025.

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