Ella (L) and Caitlin (R) McEwan, aged nine and seven, with a selection of Burger King toys (inset.)
  • Burger King stopped its decades-old tradition of giving out plastic toys with kid's meals, after a campaign from two young sisters concerned about the ocean.
  • Fer Machado, Burger King's global chief marketing officer, announced the news on Wednesday. Burger King says it will save 320 tonnes of plastic a year.
  • Pressure to change came from sisters Caitlin and Ella McEwan, aged 7 and 9, who started an online petition that got 510,000 signatures.
  • The petition also named McDonald's which has far more branches. McDonald's said it will not scrap Happy Meal toys, but does give kids the option to swap it for fruit instead.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

Burger King has stopped handing out free plastic toys with kids meals in the UK, responding to pressure from two sisters who started a viral petition.

Fer Machado, Burger King's chief marketing officer, announced the change on Wednesday. The change is expected to prevent 320 tonnes of plastic waste per year across the chain's 500 or so UK outlets.

The move was prompted by a tireless campaign from sisters Ella and Caitlin McEwan, aged nine and seven.

The sisters' Change.org petition "Save the environment - Stop giving plastic toys with fast food kids meals" has received 510,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.

It also targeted McDonald's, which has said it will not stop providing plastic toys.

"We've been learning all about the environment at school and the problem of plastic," the sisters wrote online.

The 2019 "Pokémon: Detective Pikachu" Burger King kids' meal toy selection.

"It made us very sad to see how plastic harms wildlife and pollutes the ocean, and we want to change this."

"That's why we want Burger King and McDonald's to think of the environment and stop giving plastic toys with their kids meals."

McDonald's declined to stop giving away toys. But it did say that it plans to start a program in October allowing children to swap their toy for a packet of fruit, the BBC reported.

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald's UK and Ireland, told The Telegraph: "We recognise that some people may not want a plastic Happy Meal toy, but we also know that the gifts provide fun for many families and children."

The last of the Burger King kids' toys were given out on Wednesday.

The burger chain has also launched "Meltdown" - a scheme where UK customers buying an adult meal can get a kids' meal for free if they drop off an old toy to be recycled.

An advert for a Burger King kids' meal which comes with a free Transformers or My Little Pony toy.
Burger King

Katie Evans, marketing director at Burger King UK, said in a statement: "It is impossible to ignore the growing problem excessive plastic waste is causing and we are glad to be taking action."

"At Burger King we know we can positively contribute to finding new, more sustainable solutions, long term."

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