Burger King is removing all plastic toys from its children’s meals served in the UK from Thursday to save an estimated 320 tonnes of waste annually.
The fast food chain said the move was part of a wider commitment to reduce its use of plastic, and admitted it was “spurred on” by Southampton sisters Ella and Caitlin McEwan’s petition against the use of plastic toys in children’s meals.
The Change.org petition, calling on Burger King and McDonald’s to “think of the environment and stop giving plastic toys with their kids meals”, has attracted half-a-million signatures.
Burger King UK chief executive Alasdair Murdoch said: “We’re making a start. This is a step in the right direction.
“If it makes other competitors move their practices forward, that can only be a good thing.”
The chain is installing amnesty bins in every one of its restaurants across the UK where people can drop off any free plastic meal toys, including those given away with confectionery or within children’s magazines.
The plastic will be transformed into new play areas and restaurant items including interactive trays.
To mark the announcement Burger King has installed an oversized toy on the Southbank in London as part of efforts to encourage the public to hand in their old plastic toys.
Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer at Burger King, said: “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 under way across all of our markets to look at how we can completely move away from non-biodegradable plastic toys by 2025.”