Plastic toys off the menu at Burger King

The fast-food giant will save an estimated 320 tonnes of single-use plastic each year with a blanket ban on plastic toy giveaways in the UK

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 19.09.2019 | Retail

Plastic toys off the menu at Burger King thumbnail

Burger King will no longer serve plastic toys alongside the burgers and fries in its children’s meals, saving an estimated 320 tonnes of single-use plastic each year.

The ban comes into effect from today, when Burger King will be flame grilling more than just Whoppers through an initiative called The Meltdown. Until the end of the month, kids are invited to donate unwanted plastic toys to be melted down and repurposed. Donations will be rewarded with a free King Junior meal, and kids can pick up a set of special stickers, crowns and meal boxes to feel part of the project.

Burger King admitted the move was “spurred on” by sisters Ella and Caitlin McEwan, whose online petition asking for a ban on plastic toys at burger chains grabbed headlines and was backed by more than 510,000 people. 

“Removing plastic toys from our kids’ meals represents a huge step for the brand in the UK and we knew we couldn’t do this quietly,” says Katie Evans, Marketing Director at Burger King. “The provocative idea that [creative agency] JKR presented demonstrated the engagement we were looking for; we knew it would capture the nation’s attention and change kids’ meals forever. This is an opportunity for us to lead radical change in our industry and we know we can positively contribute to finding new, more sustainable solutions, long term.”


Any toys donated during The Meltdown campaign will be recycled by ‘circular economy’ company Pentatonic and reused to build play areas and surface tools.

Though the toy ban is initially restricted to the UK, Burger King’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Fernando Machado says it’s just the “first step towards change”, confirming “work is currently underway across all of our markets to look at how we can completely move away from non bio-degradable plastic toys by 2023.”

Rival burger chain McDonalds has responded with its own changes. Customers will be able to swap Happy Meals toys for either a book or fruit in the near future, though it is not ruling out promotional toys entirely. 

Celebs launch L.O.L Surprise! Winter Disco thumbnail

Celebs launch L.O.L Surprise! Winter Disco

Jo Whiley, Lou Teasdale, Helen Flanagan, Imogen Thomas and Dan Osbourne attended launch event at the Natural History Museum’s ice ...

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker final trailer lands thumbnail

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker final trailer lands

‘The saga will end, the story lives forever’ promises Disney, as millions log on to stream the final teaser before ...

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures special airs this half term thumbnail

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures special airs this half term

The animated series’ first feature length special is part of series 2 and will air on Pop over the school ...

Press Releases

DKL readies for moon landing celebrations thumbnail

DKL readies for moon landing celebrations

New Plus-Plus space range is ideal to commemorate this year’s 50th anniversary of the historic achievement

Smart launches Smart Farmer thumbnail

Smart launches Smart Farmer

Lastest launch gives little ones an agricultrual qunadry to puzzle over and get their brains moo-ving

Smiles for Zimpli emoji range thumbnail

Smiles for Zimpli emoji range

A crowd pleaser at Toy Fair, Zimpli’s new emoji-licensed poop-shaped slime and Baff Bombz range is anything but a stinker

Rachel Lowe delivers Call the Midwife board game thumbnail

Rachel Lowe delivers Call the Midwife board game

Game creator Rachel Lowe adapts the hit TV show in licensed board game – launching just in time for Mother’s ...