McDonald’s should follow Burger King in melting down plastic toys, says Ipswich rubbish warrior
Diners at Burger King restaurants in Ipswich will be able to hand back their freebie plastic toys as the fast-food giant looks to redress the issue of single-use plastics.
The burger chain has announced that it is removing plastic toys from children's meals and will now offer amnesty bins so families can hand back those collected over the years - including those from rival restaurants.
However, Jason Alexander, the environmental campaigner behind Ipswich Rubbish Walks, says this is "just one piece of the huge complex jigsaw puzzle".
"It's an important first step," continued Jason. "But Burger King is not the only fast-food company which produces lots of single-use plastics, so hopefully others will follow suit and make similar changes."
Burger King, along with other big names such as McDonald's, has already switched from plastic straws to paper alternatives.
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But according to Mr Alexander, it's not just the plastic toys and straws that are the problem - he claims branded balloons are an even bigger cause plastic waste.
He said: "Personally for me balloons are the bigger issue, as every time that I go and do a litter-pick or beach clean-up I find that wildlife have been killed by getting tangled up in balloons.
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"I find hundreds of McDonald's Happy Meal balloons."
The move by Burger King to ban toys will save an estimated 320 tonnes of single-use plastic annually and is part of a wider commitment on plastics reduction.
The fast-food chain will transform all donated toys, by melting them into new play areas and other everyday restaurant items including interactive trays.
Mr Alexander said: "Recycling is obviously better than the plastics being dumped in the environment and ending up in landfill sites. It is much better for the environment than mining or creating new materials.
"Although it is a great move in the right direction it is just a small victory as there is much more to be done.
"Really we should be buying less things in the first place to avoid the problem."
For more information on the amnesty bins which will be provided to deposit your old toys, see here.