OPINION: Boxing clever

Consumer facing industries, particularly those that cater for children, are easy prey for ambitious MPs trying to make a name for themselves.
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So if you’re the new environment secretary for instance, and you’re fairly anonymous, it’s standard practice to play a populist card and promise to remedy one of society’s minor ills. Like, say, wasteful toy packaging for example. Which is exactly what the newly-appointed Tory MP Caroline Spelman has done.

There’s little point in arguing against the fact that some toy packaging is a little over the top and it takes advanced power tools to get through some of the more complicated set-ups. It can be unneccesary and wasteful and it is often a lot to do with on-shelf presence rather than more practical reasons. At the very least you can say with certainty that it isn’t a standard bearer for environmentalism.

I suspect that toys is not any worse than other product sectors, but when the environment secretary gets a bee in her bonnet about it, however wooly her thinking might be, it’s best to take notice. I know the BTHA will be writing to her to open a dialogue. Self-regulation is always the best solution in cases like this but the toy industry needs to be honest with itself if it wants to avoid any uncomfortable enforced legislation on it. Time to do the right thing.

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