Children are growing surrounded by plastic toys, some are sadly quick, cheap and throw away toys like the ones that fall out of cereal packets. If you are conscious of the debates surrounding plastics however, what can we do to make a change? With wooden toys making up only 3% of the toy market – plastic toys are hard to avoid! So here are five sustainable strategies to help you think about reducing the volume and keeping plastic toys out of the bin for as long as possible.
- Look for new toys made from wood, cotton, metal and natural rubber which are considered feasible alternatives to plastic toys when sourced sustainably. Check sustainability credentials though, such as making sure wood is from FSC sources and paints are not made from plastics.
- Look to buy any new toys from sustainably focused designers or manufacturers. Select to buy from makers that you find to be sustainably conscious. Many toy companies are on social media and have contact points, so reach out and ask probing questions about what they are doing in relation to making their products, especially plastic ones, more sustainable.
- Scale back on a number of plastic toys bought new. Think about toy purchases as an act that is adding to a existing toy collection. Consider the gaps and limiting the purchase of toys to a few good quality items that are as open ended as possible. This allows toys to be used in many different ways [for a hopefully longer time!] and help toys be desirable for resale.
- Look second hand to find toys that are no longer wanted and give them a new home and lease of life. You can find lots of good quality toys on second hand selling sites and in charity shops. While plastic toys are often chastised for not having the longevity that other materials can bring, most toys are quickly outgrown. You will save money too!
- Think about incorporating everyday home items you already have in your child’s playtime. It is amazing how messy play with dried food goods or categorising kitchen utensils and Tupperware into size and shape order can entertain little ones.
- Substitute toys with experiences. Find places to go and things to do instead! While toys enrich play and can be cherished by our children, they equally just enjoy spending time us, their friends and family.