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Photo of children's toy discovered in store sparks debate online: 'The whole [thing is] unnecessary'

"It needs to have some shelf presence."

Hot Wheels Worlds Smallest Monster Truck, Huge packaging

Photo Credit: iStock

Sorry, Barbie, life in plastic isn't very fantastic. And one Redditor is showing the internet how pervasive this plastic packaging issue is, especially regarding kids toys. 

The user shared a photo of a Hot Wheels "World's Smallest Monster Truck" toy on the r/mildlyinfuriating forum. The truck itself was no bigger than a thumb, as referenced by the photo. However, the plastic packaging encasing the toy was the size of the user's hand.

Hot Wheels Worlds Smallest Monster Truck
Photo Credit: u/Carbohydrate838 / Reddit

Plastic use is a pertinent issue in the children's toy industry. Not only does the packaging require dirty energy to produce, but it also leaches chemicals into the atmosphere and into waterways. When single-use plastic hits the landfills, it remains over a thousand years before it starts the process of breaking down into the environment — which causes a whole host of other environmental and chemical issues. 

Some toy companies are making efforts to reduce their plastic, as Emily Barone of Time noted in 2021. Mattel has committed to reducing the size of the plastic windows on boxes and has set goals to make 30% of its packaging recycled. Hasbro set goals to have its packaging be plastic-free by the end of 2022, while Lego will use only "tree-based recycled paper pouches" for its bricks by 2025. 

The commenters on this thread hypothesized that the packaging for this toy was so large to give it more shelf presence and make it attractive to its intended audience. "It needs to have some shelf presence otherwise kids wouldn't pick it up - I do agree it didn't need to be plastic though," one user wrote

Several other users suggested that the amount of packaging was needed for theft protection and to prevent children from choking on the toys while their parents shopped. 

Still, that doesn't make the amount of plastic used for this product acceptable. "The whole [thing is] unnecessary," one user shared

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