Plastic Fast Food Toys-Reducing Waste

Last weekend we had a family picnic and went to the beach to find rocks. My son is into fossils and thinks he will be a archaeologist and a truck driver. I cheated and decided we would go to Subway and throw this into the cooler for our picnic. It was a long week and I wanted a break.

Rightly so.

Anyhow, even Subway gives toys in the kids meals and to reduce the waste, my children share a meal because neither will finish a entire kids meal. Small eaters. My son looked at this dinky plastic key chain and said:

“That’s dumb.”

What? Where did he learn that word and some kids would die to have that. Wait, no he’s right. That is a dumb toy to put in a kids meal. Actually, most of the toys are dumb and wasteful. He got this one right and how could I argue and what was I going to do with this plastic thing?

Fast food waste is all around a problem. The cups, straws, wrappers, napkins, drink holders, it is all wasteful. People take too many napkins and do we really need a straw? I was reading how there is no legislation and a few fast food companies are making an effort to have policies. You know, words on paper to make the public think they are doing something. Take the waste of the plastic toys that are piled up all over the nation and our landfills. It’s sick. Why do children need to be rewarded for eating bad food. That’s what’s happening.

I’m not sure of an alternative other than books to reduce the waste of giving out plastic toys in a kids meal. What about a good old fashion sticker or at least something that can be recycled, like a book. What are your suggestions on reducing fast food waste and cutting down on the plastic toys (other than not going)? What about ways we can reuse or recycle the toys that we do have? I read from the News Observer of the toys being donated to children in third world countries. Share your ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Original Post for 5 Minutes For Going Green

Read more from Sommer over at Green & Clean Mom, where she writes about being some shade of green every day. Subscribe to her blog here and don’t miss out her latest finds, contests, giveaways and sexy and sassy green tips!

10 Responses to Plastic Fast Food Toys-Reducing Waste
  1. mama k
    August 29, 2008 | 7:45 am

    We just skip the kids meal altogether. On the rare occasion we do hit the drive through, I just get him a couple items from the dollar menu. It’s cheaper and there is less waste… no special kids meal box or toy. And he doesn’t need the soda or whatever other sugary drinks they have. We always have a sippy of water in the car. I figure the fast food is bad enough! LOL

  2. Amy N
    August 29, 2008 | 7:55 am

    we don’t get fast food too often, but when we do i don’t mind getting DS the kids meal. he plays with the toy for a few days and then it goes into a box that we fill up with those cheap toys. they are then given to various mission teams from our church when they go on trips or they go into the operation christmas child shoe boxes that we make at christmas that are sent to children overseas. the children love getting these ‘cheap’ toys and it’s a great way to recycle them.

  3. onemotherslove
    August 29, 2008 | 8:46 am

    I never buy a kids meal. Now-a-days, all I get for my 4yo is a plain bun with a slice of cheese and my 1yo shares my meal. They drink milk or water (which is free). We just get one box of fries to share as a family, too. There’s no sense in ordering everyone a super sized meal – no one ever needs that many fries! As far as kids meal toys go, though, Chick-fil-a usually has a book or educational CD in their kids meals. When we go there with my brother’s family, their kids get the meals and give the books/cd’s to us.

  4. Jennifer (The Smart Mama)
    August 29, 2008 | 3:47 pm

    If we do get fast food, then I ask to forgo the toys, which most places will do, unless my kids are paying attention. And, by the way, I also ask to skip the extra sauce packets which we don’t use and disosable cutlery. But I do collect the toys and give them out at Halloween in a big bowl – I let the kids select what they want so that even if my daughter, for example, doesn’t want a skateboard keychair, there might be a kid that does want it.

  5. Jessica (Surely You Nest)
    August 30, 2008 | 12:48 pm

    Whether you buy fast food or not, there are a zillion ways to end up with what OrganicMania affectionately calls Cheap Plastic Crap. I’ve started doing what GreenBeanDreams recommends: taking the pile of toys we really don’t want to the dentist for her treasure chest. My dentist was *thrilled* when I suggested it.

  6. Tiffany
    January 24, 2009 | 11:29 pm

    Maybe it takes some “shopping around”. Chick-fil-A always seems to give out books or language CD’s in our area. My 5 yr old is picking up a few Italian words because of it. While fast food is not always a good option, some are better than others. Chicken (real chicken), fruit, and milk isn’t a bad meal and a little educational fun to boot.
    For the other junk toys, often times they get left in the packaging and sent to the kids’ teachers for prizes to give out. They will still probably end up in the garbage eventually, but maybe someone will enjoy it for a little while…and it’s less the teacher has to come out of her pocket for other junk toys that would also end up in the garbage.

  7. Jenny
    October 3, 2009 | 3:03 pm

    I’m glad to find out there are others out there like me. I decided years ago, with my older child, that these toys are played with for about a day and then they end up cluttering the kids’ room. When ridding of clutter, there is nowhere else for these toys to go but the dump – wasteful and not environmentally friendly. I can’t even donate these to the thrift store because no one would want them. I have convinced my older child to either ask the cashier to not put the toy in with the meal or to give the toy back if it gets slipped in. The fast food employees look at us like we are crazy! Why would we not want a toy?! Because we are here for food! Some kids meal toys are worth keeping (books, etc.) I don’t even let my younger child see the toy most of the time before giving it back. By the way, at Chik-Fil-A, the child can get an ice cream instead of the toy. We also try not to use too many napkins, use no straws, etc. Once I bought 1 doughnut and was given 28 napkins! The fast food employees need to think of what they are doing.

  8. Meg
    March 3, 2010 | 1:33 pm

    I wish they would give out books instead, or even a seed packet or plant-a-tree kit. My son plays with those toys for five minutes at most, if at all, and I’m left wondering what to do with it. I’m not sure if the plastic can even be recycled because of the screws, microchips and other miscellaneous parts attached.

  9. ellen
    September 21, 2010 | 6:01 pm

    Wendy’s often gives out games (that is miniature versions of board games). They have also given CDs of books like the Magic TreeHouse or Junie B. Jones and I remember some Clifford cd/roms with educational games for the computer a few years back. Wendy’s also gives kids the option of mandarin oranges instead of fries and my kids think chocolate milk is a treat because that’s what they get on the rare occasions they get fast food.

  10. Stop Junk Toys
    September 29, 2010 | 2:48 pm

    We made this web site for this exact purpose.
    We also have a petition there so feel free to sign it.