Waitrose has confirmed that it will no longer sell children’s magazines with plastic disposable toys in a move to help combat the issue of pollution and plastic waste.
The retailer’s decision was inspired by a campaign launched by the ten year old Skye from Gwynedd, who has made it a mission to persuade publishers to stop giving away the disposable toys in magazines.
Waitrose has backed the cause, stating that the plastic toys, often used as incentives for children and parents to purchase the magazine, have a short lifespan and cannot easily be recycled. Over the next eight weeks, it will be removing magazines containing the free toys from its shelves.
The grocer is urging publishers to replace the ‘pointless plastic’ with sustainable alternatives and the ban will not include educational or reusable craft items which are designed to be used multiple times, such as colouring pens and pencils, and collectable models.
Speaking with the BBC, ten year old Skye – who’s campaign inspired the move – said: “I’m really pleased so many people have agreed with me and supported my petition – I want to thank everyone who has signed and shared my campaign to ban plastics from comics and magazines.
“Thank you to Waitrose for agreeing with us and no longer selling the unwanted plastic tat.
“I hope all retailers can do the same and then the publishers will realise this is not acceptable anymore. We really like the magazines – we just don’t want or need the plastic packaging or the cheap plastic toys.”
Marija Rompani, partner and director of sustainability and ethics at Waitrose, said: “While we know these magazines are popular with children, some of the unnecessary plastic attached to them has become really excessive.
“Many in the younger generation really care about the planet and are the ones inheriting the problem of plastic pollution. We urge publishers to find alternatives, and other retailers to follow our lead in ending the pointless plastic that comes with children’s magazines.”
The retailer has written to magazine distributors giving them eight weeks’ notice of the policy, asking for alternatives to plastic toys and warning that they will not sell copies which contain the disposable items.
Campaigners for better sustainability measures within the children’s entertainment space has acknowledged the impact the decision may have on some publishers, but state that this is a ‘necessary step in tackling the issue of plastic waste.’
Trudi Bishop, a campaigner and columnist for ToyNews, said: “All publishers need to stop and believe in their content and not rely on cheap, nasty plastic marketing toys to sell what are great magazines.”