Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL
This is an easy action that will educate your child AND do some direct good
(… or perhaps, if you are a youngster reading this, you can educate your parents!)
A recurring theme on this site is the need to cut down on our use of plastics – especially single use plastics. We’ve read time and time again about the long term pollution it causes, especially in our seas, the unnecessary use of fossil fuels and chemicals to make them, and the effect of microplastics on our own health and food chain.
So we need to be looking for those unnecessary plastic uses and cutting them out of our lives.
The plastic toys so often offered with burger meals is a perfect example.
Companies that use these marketing tools do respond to changing consumer demands and preferences, and in recent months we have seen some examples of where plastic add-ons for children have been dropped. A good example is the case of children themselves rejecting plastic toys attached to magazines (see the BBC article at https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/56488314) where a 10 year old led a campaign that resulted in changes by the supermarket chain Waitrose in the UK. Another is a recent backlash against Marks & Spencers, again in the UK, when they started producing tiny plastic versions of their products as “collectibles” for children (see the Daily Mirror article at https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/business/marks-spencer-slammed-giving-out-17996790).
It’s simple; from now on, reject the plastic toy offered with any burger meal, or other similar “freebies”. Hand it back to the sales assistant and ask them to send it back to the manufacturer or supplier for recycling.
Why is this important?
Rejecting this type of unnecessary plastic product helps our environment in many ways:
- the plastic used in the product and its packaging is not transferred to the waste system
- fossil fuels are not used to make and transport them
- pressure is placed on retailers to produce eco-friendly alternative children’s gifts
- educate the people around you in the restaurant about the damage they do
- educate your children or parents about the meaninglessness of such toys
In addition reducing the cost of the meal can benefit the customer and the business!
Please, just say no!