Schoolchildren hand back their Happy Meal toys in McDonald’s plastics protest

Bideford McDonald's franchisee David Hunt accepts Happy Meal toys from Year 5 pupils at West Croft P

Bideford McDonald's franchisee David Hunt accepts Happy Meal toys from Year 5 pupils at West Croft Primary School - but he says the company is planning to do more to reduce single-use plastics. Picture: West Croft - Credit: West Croft

Schoolchildren have handed their Happy Meal toys back to McDonald’s in a protest against single use plastics.

It came about after some of the West Croft Primary School Year 5 Lapwings class wrote to Bideford franchisee David Hunt after finding out the toys were made from a plastic that could not be recycled.

The children collected toys from around their school and initially they had planned to present them and the letters to the Bideford McDonald's yesterday (Monday, July 22).

But instead Mr Hunt went to the school to meet them on Friday when he heard about it.

Holly Leather, aged 10, had written: 'My class have been learning about the issue and we want to make a change.

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'So we created plans to present Bideford McDonald's and present you with boxes of old and unwanted McDonald's toys.

'We have collected toys from across the school and are making our point clear to you that this is not just us wanting change but in fact, an entire school of children.

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'Actually, if everyone in our school went to McDonald's once a month and got a toy, that would be 7,200 toys. This proves my point exactly.

'What do you want for young children's future? These toys are not a necessity to children'.

Mr Hunt told the Gazette he heard about the children's stand on Friday after a teacher from the school contacted his restaurant.

He said: "I took the initiative to actually go down to the school on Friday, meet with the class and actually was able to tell them that we have done lots of work on plastics over the years.

"We are currently replacing plastics straws with paper ones, we have changed the salad containers into cardboard boxes and save 140 tonnes in plastic on that initiative alone, going forward we are removing plastic tops on McFlurries.

"I was able to tell them that in the next six months over 60 per cent of the Happy Meal toys will be converted to either cuddly toys, paper books or wooden items, so the whole initiative is saving a huge amount of plastics.

"Great work by the children. I was able to answer a few questions and got a nice round of applause from the children, so it was a really good initiative."

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