No thank you big brands: Happy meal plastic toys are making us sad

With increasing public awareness about plastic waste, it is about time we, the consumers, stand up and say no thank you to big brands who give out pointless single use plastic toys. It is time to put our words into action. Why can’t McDonalds or Burger King give out a non plastic free toy – is it too much to ask? I don’t want another cheap plastic polluting toy thank you very much.


It seems that a number of retailers are starting to end the misuse of plastic and making symbolic changes. However McDonalds are not following their footsteps as apparently the plastic toys in happy meals are recyclable, with a spokesperson saying;

‘ We know that our Happy meal toys provide fun for children and families playing in our restaurants, but also provide many more fun filled hours at home for a long time too’.

However, in reality most of these tacky plastic toys don’t even make it out of the restaurant, left on tables after the food has been eaten. If we want big brands to listen, maybe consumers need to throw it back in their faces, literally.

Thankfully McDonalds UK is looking at sourcing all packaging from renewable sources by 2025. Plastic straws are being replaced with paper ones, plastic lids removed and cardboard containers used for salads. This will therefore reduce its plastic waste footprint considerably, so stepping stones are being paved.

Marks and Spencer

I find it frustrating that Marks and Spencer have stopped selling plastic cutlery but have now launched a new plastic toy campaign called ‘little shop’ where if the consumer spends £20 they are given a mini plastic replica of popular store items. There are 25 to collect. Well, you know where they can stick that. Head in my hands – where the logic? Missing the point here Carmel McQuaid, head of sustainability – stop making pointless single-use plastic in the first place!

BBC Programme War on plastic

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani showed how these promotional plastic toys are filling the ever increasing waste mountain.

My solution – seeds or bamboo toys

What about packets of seeds and a biodegradable tray box. Innocent do something similar. with their packaging. My kids love nurturing, watering and planting seeds. It teaches them to take responsibility and surely it is good for mental well being. Selling Happy Meals – give out a gift that can still make kids happy and get them to send pictures of what they have grown – customer feedback and satisfaction for big brands.

In addition to this, mini bamboo toys would work as a replacement surely? I was looking at bamboo dinosaur toys recently as an alternative option for my son.

Carnaby street project in London

Whilst out for a day trip it was good to see this huge world globe icon projected high above the shops near the iconic Carnaby street sign. Any help to promote environmental awareness is good to see and I heard a lot of tourists and Londoners chatting about it.

In conclusion – small changes make a big difference in saving the environment. It is all very well saying kids are happy with what they receive, big brands need to look at the bigger picture as we need to act and protect the environment now for the sake of future generations.

How have you manged to cut back on single use plastic and what are your thoughts on plastic freebies, would love to hear your comments below.

Twin Mummy and Daddy


  1. I have stopped buying kids meals. She hardly eats the whole thing and that stupid toy ends up in my junk drawer. Time to make a world wide change. Let us be smarter and take better care of the planet. #thatfridaylinky

    • I know, just adding more rubbish in the house. There are so many better alternatives we could get as freebies and I guess it is up to us as parents to pass on positive actions. Thanks for reading.

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