The term ‘eco-friendly’ is talked about a lot these days, but what makes a toy eco-friendly? When putting the environment first, there are many things to think about – how far the product has travelled, what the packaging is made out of, how the manufacturer runs its factories. Determining eco-credentials can be complex! But there are also some very easy steps we can take to be friendly to the environment.
Common sense tells us that reusing a toy is kind to the environment – the less often toys are purchased, the less impact there is on the earth, water and air. When the time comes to buy a new toy remember that good quality toys will survive for generations. A broken plastic toy that can’t be fixed will go into landfill much more quickly than a well made wooden truck that someone can mend.
What about the plastic versus wood debate? Although plastic toys can be convenient and inexpensive, some plastics contain potentially harmful ingredients such as bisphenol A (BPA). Aside from its safety concerns, plastic is often non-durable. Fortunately, in today’s eco-conscious climate, there are a number of plastic alternatives. For example, Green Toys manufactures a range of toys, such as tea and cooking sets, beach toys, skipping ropes, big trucks and Frisbees, that are made from recycled plastic milk bottles! This award-winning green company also goes to great lengths to produce non-toxic and durable products – things you can simply throw in the dishwasher.
Many beautiful long-lasting toys are made from wood and there are a number of European toy manufacturers who take pride in the wooden toys they craft. But wood comes from trees, and we want to protect our trees. Keep an eye out for companies that tell you about the wood they use. Some wood, like Rubber Wood and Bamboo, is referred to as ‘sustainable’ because it is in such abundant supply. Some companies also have innovative tree planting policies. A great example is eco-award winning Blue Orange Games. They produce a range of quality wooden games and their policy is to plant two trees for every tree used.
Today, with the internet on our side, new mums have great access to information! Checking out manufacturers’ claims, customer reviews and eco-credentials before you buy new toys is good for the planet, as well as our children.
Written for Babyology by
Flying Penguin Extraordinary Educational Toys.