UK kids' magazines 'plastic toy tat' purge is "top of the agenda", says Egmont

The firm has responded to calls from groups like Authors4Oceans for all UK kids' magazine publishers to end the 'toy tat' giveaways generating 3,000 tonnes of landfill a year.
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Egmont has said that the issue of the 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated through toy giveaways via all UK kids’ magazines every year is “top of its agenda.”

The response has come to increasing pressure from groups such as Authors4Oceans who has cited magazine’s plastic toy giveaway initiatives as a major contributor to plastic waste.

Among those rallying is children’s author Horatio Clare, who has labelled children’s magazines’ ‘toy tat’ such as plastic animals, dinosaurs, stethoscopes or plastic tiaras as little more than ‘landfill’.

“The content in many of these magazines is terrific, designed to support early years learning, giving help with shapes, spelling, figures, puzzle solving, word searches, spotting the difference, facts about nature and they print lots of very enjoyable stories,” he told The Bookseller.

“The problem is that all the big sellers come loaded with toy-tat. It’s the worst kind of disposable plastic, designed to only catch the eye.”

Having looked at a list of UK magazine sales for the first half of 2017 published by Press Gazette, Clare has stated that most of the publications on the list, including CBeebies Special, Toybox and Peppa Pig Bag of Fun, are sold with at least one free toy.

“You can get up to 11 free gifts per magazine, but call it three on average. That’s three million plastic throwaways a week and 150 million a year,” he said. “At 20 grammes of plastic, which is about right, you get three million kilos, or 3,000 tonnes. It’s a heck of a figure, and I think a very conservative estimate.”

Clare has contacted the likes of Redan, Immediate and Egmont, CBeebies and National Geographic Kids, all of which have responded with Egmont saying the issue was ‘top of its agenda.’

Clare’s campaign is being supported by Authors4Oceans, The Sailors’ Society, Society of Children’s Book Writers Ireland as well as numerous other authors.

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