What Is a Box Window Really Worth?

Transformers The Movie Hot Rod Toy Box
An awesome modern plastic free toy box with stunning artwork

Hasbro has recently announced that they’re re-introducing windows and blisters to their 6 inch fan figures for select products based on feedback. I saw this announcement on social media and thought many of the comments about this announcement were very interesting. Lots of people commenting essentially were implying that this decision was due to reduced sales, and many people were celebrating this news.

I was in the minority in that I was disappointed to see this news. You see, recently I had to face an awkward truth. I have one of the least environmentally friendly hobbies: collecting toys!

Assessing Impact

I was fortunate enough a few years ago to attend a private screening of a documentary called “a plastic ocean”. It was screened at the London Aquarium, after opening hours and we got to have a Q & A with people associated with the documentary afterwards. Among other things, I can’t forget how researchers found large amounts of dead seabirds which had died due to their stomachs being full of plastic.

When Blue Planet II was aired on BBC, people everywhere were talking about the impacts of plastic pollution and the sad impact it was having on the lives of whales.

I took a look at myself and my own plastic centric hobby and asked, “what can I do to make this more sustainable and enjoy my hobby while minimising the impact on the natural world?”

One of the things I did was look up the sustainability policies of the manufacturers of the toys I generally like to collect. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was some really good stuff happening, particularly from Hasbro. These big companies know they have a role to play in protecting the natural world around us, and I believe they’re genuinely trying to better themselves in this area. I pledged that if I was going to buy a toy, it would only be from a company that had good sustainability policies and was doing their best to reduce their impact. I’ve been really excited to see lots of plastic free packaging lately, which was why I was disappointed to see a partial U-turn in this area due to customer feedback.

Transformers The Movie Hot Rod Toy Box
An awesome modern plastic free toy box with stunning artwork

It was this line of thinking that led to me interviewing Boss Fight Studio about the ways in which they reduce their impact, which if you haven’t already read, you can find a link to below this article.

How important is a window anyway?

Many people have different opinions on how important a window is on packaging, and this largely depends on what type of toy collector they are. These opinions and differences were very apparent on the comments of this recent announcement.

Some people keep their toys MISB, others open them, and enjoy them. Some may keep the packaging, others may discard it. According to Greenpeace (see links below), most of the plastic pollution in the sea starts on land. It blows from waste bins and landfill sites into water sources and then flows out to sea.

Plastic doesn’t really break down.  It just breaks up, into smaller and smaller pieces which are eventually consumed by sea life. Most of the plastic windows on our toy boxes are recyclable, but I have no idea where I’m supposed to recycle this plastic. My local recycling center has no facilities for this type of plastic, and my local council doesn’t collect it in their fortnightly collection either.

But, if there’s no plastic in the packaging in the first place, then the issue of how to dispose of or recycle it is no longer a problem. I’ve been really pleased to see plastic free, windowless packaging, and I think it’s also worth bearing in mind that there were many toys of the past that didn’t have windows in their packaging. These windowless boxes are just as revered by collectors of these lines today, and treat us to some really stunning artwork.

Take the Starmax Bomber from the Starcom toy line for example:

Passions and choices

Going back to where this article started, the windows and blisters Hasbro are reintroducing to some of their lines are going to be made from bio PET or recycled PET. This is still better than newly created plastic which I applaud them for. From there though, the decision falls on the consumer as to what happens with that plastic next.

This decision to reintroduce windows and blisters to some lines is consumer led, but I understand why it happens. Let’s take a look:

Toy collectors are passionate. The mere sight of a toy that has a link to our childhood is emotional and evocative. It brings joy and connects us to a simpler time in our lives. Many of these toys are physical representations of characters who inspired us, or perhaps were even genuine heroes or teachers to us. When we’re feeling this influx of thoughts, emotions and memories, most other considerations go out the window. I get it, I’m one of you, I often feel the same way.

But there’s a new generation of future toy collectors in our world right now. They deserve to grow up in a world that has the same green land and biodiversity that we grew up in. The creatures which are affected by plastic pollution deserve to be here as much as we do too. If we don’t take responsibility for what’s going on in the world right now, these kids/future collectors futures could be very different to our past and present.

If we as a community could be sound in the knowledge that we can still enjoy our hobby while being willing to embrace change (such as windowless boxes) to reduce the potential negative impacts of this hobby, then we’d be looking at a future with less plastic production and less plastic waste.

What Would (Insert Childhood Hero Here) Do?

Sometimes you just have to ask; What would Optimus Prime do? Would any of our childhood heroes that we still revere so much today kick up a fuss about a small change which has a positive impact on the lives of others? Or would they embrace that change for the better good?

Change is hard-we like comfort and familiarity. That’s probably why we collect toys in adulthood in the first place. But we can’t and shouldn’t look to the big companies to do all the changing for us. The reasons that windows have come back are because we as a community made decisions and choices which affected that outcome.

My questions to the collecting community are:

  • Can we see our hobby in its proper perspective and applaud and support manufacturers in their efforts to be more sustainable and reduce their impact?
  • Can we be willing to embrace change for the better good?
  • Can we take responsibility for the disposal of any waste that comes from our hobbies and find proper recycling facilities for the plastic elements of packaging that we’re going to discard?

The choice is ours; as a wise bot once said: “freedom is the right of all sentient beings” including seabirds and whales.

Further information:

Trailer for “A Plastic Ocean”: A Plastic Ocean Official Trailer – YouTube

At the time of writing, A Plastic Ocean is available to rent or buy from Amazon Prime Video.

Information from Greenpeace on plastic pollution:

Why is there so much plastic in the ocean? | Greenpeace UK

What’s the answer to our plastic problem? | Greenpeace UK

What really happens to your plastic recycling? | Greenpeace UK

Plastic pollution | Greenpeace UK

Article on Boss Fight Studio and their efforts to be sustainable: Toys That Do Good: Shining a Light on Boss Fight Studio – Infinite Frontiers

About Steve Shreeve 13 Articles
I love sci-fi, retro cartoons and retro toys, and I'm passionate about nature and the environment. I'm an experienced Personal Trainer and help people tone up, gain energy and feel better anywhere using my Online Personal Training service, feel free to check out my website if you'd like to know more about what I do.

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