Waitrose bans children's magazines with 'excessive' plastic toy giveaways


Waitrose has announced it is to stop selling children's magazines that contain plastic disposable toys, in response to a campaign by a 10-year-old girl from Gwynedd, who launched a petition to persuade publishers to end the practice.

Skye, from Gwynedd, launched her petition after becoming fed up with being sent "cheap plastic rubbish" with her favourite magazine. "These toys will be made in China, wrapped in plastic, put on a pallet wrapped in more plastic, sent across the world, unwrapped, stuck on a magazine and covered in more plastic, and then shipped to houses," she told the BBC earlier this month. "The carbon footprint is big and you are putting it straight in the bin to pollute the planet."

Following on from its 2019 pledge to end the sale of Christmas crackers containing plastic toys, Waitrose announced it would extend the ban to magazines that contain plastic toys that have a short lifespan and are hard to recycle.

However, the supermarket stressed that ban would not cover giveaways that include educational or reusable craft items, such as colouring pencils and pens or collectable models which are intended to be used multiple times.

The company said it would remove offending magazines from its shelves over the next eight weeks and, instead, call for magazine publishers to replace plastic toys with more sustainable alternatives.

"While we know these magazines are popular with children, some of the unnecessary plastic attached to them has become really excessive," said Marija Rompani, partner and director for sustainability and ethics at Waitrose. "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 move follows similar pledges by a number of fast food restaurants to end the use of plastic toy giveaways and is likely to ramp up pressure on other retailers to follow suit.