Burger King is calling on kids to melt down their plastic meal toys

Sustainable initiative 'The Meltdown' addresses plastic waste that's long been part of fast feeders' children's offerings

Published On
Sep 18, 2019

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Today, Burger King announced a major initiative in the U.K.: it wants kids to melt down all their plastic meal toys. 

The sustainability push, officially called “The Meltdown,” was conceived with agency Jones Knowles Ritchie and pledges to remove all toys from BK’s King Junior Meals. It’s also asking kids and their families to bring old meal toys (from Burger King or any other fast feeder) to its restaurants so they can be melted down and recycled. 

The campaign includes plastic toy “amnesty bins” that will be set up at Burger King’s 500+ restaurants in the U.K. There will also be digital, out-of-home, in-store and experiential elements.  Those who drop off toys between September 19-30 will receive free King Junior Meals, sticker sheets and Meltdown BK crowns with the purchase of an adult meal.

The push follows a plastic-centered controversy in the U.K. tied to Burger King and its competitor McDonald’s. A pair of sisters, Ella and Caitlin McEwen, started a petition in June asking the fast feeders to remove plastic toys from their kids’ meals in a move to be more environmentally responsible. It quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of signatures (currently more than 500,000 have signed), and in July, McDonald’s pledged to significantly reduce the hard plastic toys in its meals and replace them with more sustainable options in the second half of the year.

In Japan, McDonald’s previously introduced its own sustainability play that asked kids to bring back their old Happy Meal toys—so they could be upcycled into restaurant trays.