Will Waitrose’s ban on ‘pointless plastic’ toys include LEGO?

Waitrose has announced plans to stop selling magazines with ‘pointless plastic’ toys – so will that mean one less avenue for buying Immediate Media’s LEGO titles?

Brick Fanatics reader Zander alerted us to the supermarket chain’s decision, which follows 10-year-old Skye’s petition to stop publishers including disposable toys in their magazines.

“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,” Skye told the BBC.

“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.”

LEGO CITY magazine Issue 36 8

Waitrose’s ban will come into effect over the next couple of months, with the retailer giving its distributors eight weeks’ notice to remove plastic toys from the front of its magazines. Fortunately, it sounds like Immediate Media’s official LEGO magazines – including its Star Wars, CITY and NINJAGO titles – won’t be among them.

According to the BBC, the move will exclude ‘educational or reusable craft items’ and ‘collectible models’, which suggests the foil-bagged LEGO freebies attached to the official mags will still get the green light.

That will be a relief to fans who pick up their LEGO magazines from Waitrose, but it also sounds like a sensible policy: while it’s impossible to ignore the environmental impact of LEGO bricks and minifigures, they also don’t really fall under the umbrella of ‘disposable toys’, which is the real issue for both Skye and the retailer.

“While we know these magazines are popular with children, some of the unnecessary plastic attached to them has become really excessive,” said Waitrose’s partner and director of sustainability and ethics Marija Rompani.

“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.”

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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