Waitrose will step up its efforts to reduce single use plastic by no longer selling children’s magazines containing disposable toys.

The retailer was inspired to act after hearing about the campaign by a 10-year-old girl from Gwynedd, who has launched her own campaign to persuade publishers to end the practice.

Many children’s magazines now contain free plastic toys which have a very short lifespan and cannot be easily recycled. This will not include educational or reusable craft items, such as colouring pencils and pens or collectable models which are intended to be used multiple times.

Waitrose will lead the way in removing them from its supermarket shelves over the next eight weeks and instead calling for magazine publishers to replace plastic toys with more sustainable alternatives.

Marija Rompani, Partner & Director of Ethics & Sustainability, 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.”

In 2019, Waitrose also announced it would stop selling Christmas crackers containing plastic toys from 2020 as part of plans to cut down on single-use plastic. Instead crackers are now filled with toys made from recyclable materials and do not use plastic glitter.

Waitrose is tackling single-use plastic across its entire business and is on track to making all own-label packaging  widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023.

Waitrose recently ranked first in Greenpeace’s annual league table, for the second year in a row, which looks at how supermarkets are reducing use of single-use plastics.

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