War on plastic

We spoke to Ella and Caitlin about their impressive campaign to reduce plastic toys given out with fast-food meals

Stevie, Girlguiding digital team
31 July 2019

After Brownies Ella (10) and Caitlin (8) featured on the BBC’s War on Plastic programme, McDonald’s finally responded and agreed to reduce the number of plastic toys it gives out with meals. We were so impressed with the campaign, we decided to catch up with them to find out more.

Why did you decide to start campaigning about plastic toys?

“We were learning about plastic pollution at school and we watched a film about all the plastic in the sea and how it’s harming the fish and other animals. I was upset about a turtle with a plastic ring around its neck. We go to Burger King and McDonald’s as a treat sometimes and I didn't really want the toys. And after I learnt about all the plastic in the environment, I thought we should try and stop people having these toys and then throwing them away. My friends were all talking about it too” – Ella

“It was Ella's idea, but I wanted to join in too. I didn't like it that the plastic was hurting the fish in the sea” – Caitlin

How did your unit help support you and the campaign?

“I talked about the campaign and the petition to my Brownie group and they were very supportive and they also thought the Burger King and McDonald’s shouldn't give out all these toys. They helped collect some old toys for us to take to back to McDonalds. We both got a badge to do with helping the environment” - Ella

“We told them about the petition and all the Brownies thought it was a good idea and they said things like ‘if it's plastic we really don't want the toys given out’” – Caitlin

What was it like being on TV talking about your campaign?

“It was an amazing experience but also very nerve wracking because of all the cameras around me. It was awesome to meet Anita Rani and she was really nice and she helped us because she knew what to do” – Ella

“It was scary and I was quite afraid of talking in front of people but Anita Rani and the film crew were really friendly. They showed us how the equipment worked and I liked having to wear a microphone. I liked Anita Rani coming to our house” - Caitlin

Future Girl showed us that girls want to be Planet Protectors and want everyone to do more to protect the environment. If you could ask everyone to do one thing to help stop plastic pollution, what would it be?

“Go back in time! Get your milk in glass bottles and use a bread maker to make your bread so it doesn't have to come in a plastic bag, or bake your own” - Ella

“Cut down the single use plastic, maybe get fruit and veg without all the plastic bags and boxes. You can bring your own bags to the supermarket” - Caitlin

What advice would you give to other girls who want to start a campaign?

“Don't worry about what big companies say and follow what you think is right. Just get out there and do it” - Ella