As adults we endeavour to live more sustainably and opt for greener alternatives where possible, be it through renewable energy sources or reusable products. We tend to consider the environmental impact of everyday products, but due to the abundance of advertising and kids being kids, we often forget to apply the same lens to children’s toys. Many plastic toys contain toxins, like BPA or phthalates, and end up in landfill.
When deciding whether a toy is environmentally friendly or not, there are several factors to take into consideration.
The Type Of Material – Make sure your child’s toys are made from non-toxic materials and are chemical free. Natural or organic materials tend to be best, such as wood, cotton, or hemp. Though if you’re struggling to find toys made from these, recycled materials, like recycled plastic for example, are a better alternative to your usual plastic
Packaging – A lot of brands are guilty of using too much packaging, though aside from this you can check if the packaging is recyclable, biodegradable or made from FSC certified cardboard
Where It Was Made – Currently over three-quarters of all toys sold in the United States are manufactured in other countries, which may have different safety regulations. Buying from local vendors where possible can help in reducing the green house gas emissions caused by the transportation of toys overseas
Quality Check – Always check the quality of the product you’re buying. It can be worth spending a little extra money if the toy is going to see your child through their early years and then can be passed on to another child
You could also try second-hand shops, resale platforms like eBay or car boot sales to keep the circular economy going.
Here are a few of our favourite environmentally friendly toys that your kids, and the planet, will love:
All of the toys at Green Toys are made from 100% recycled plastic. They manufacture their entire offering of eco-friendly children’s products in the USA, and their tight local supply chain, utilizing locally sourced materials, ensures the toys are made to the highest quality. The use of recycled plastic not only diverts material from landfill but reduces the brand’s carbon footprint and potentially harmful greenhouse gas emissions. They primarily use recycled milk jugs to create product, like this construction truck, but they also integrate other types of recycled plastic, like yoghurt cups!
The truck contains no BPA, phthalates of PVC, meets FDA food contact standards and is packaged with recycled materials, printed with soy inks.
The mini deluxe micro kickboard is made from discarded fishing gear, ropes, and trawls that normally would have been dropped in the ocean. The brand discovered that using recycled ‘green plastic’ from fishing nets not only affects the health of oceans and marine life, but also reduces the company’s ecological footprint during manufacturing by up to 82% compared to using non-recycled materials.
They have also minimized the packaging where possible, using FSC certified paper and packaging created from degradable material. Micro Kickboard donate a portion of annual sales to 1% for the Planet, which supports environmental efforts around the world.
These puppets are handmade, and the manufacturing process takes place entirely at their workshop at Kathmandu in Nepal, where they employ 100 Nepalese women.
The felt is made from organic Tibetan lambs’ wool, so the puppets are completely chemical free, just wool, soap and water. The pigments for dyeing are sourced from Switzerland, selected to be safe, natural, and eco-friendly. Any other components required for a particular design are sourced locally in markets, often employing specialist artisans like carpenters or leather workers to create a unique button, ornamental feature, or slipper sole.
We can all remember many a messy Play-Doh session, but have you heard of Eco-Dough? Eco Dough is FDA approved, made from all natural ingredients, including non-GMO flour, cream of tartar and Vitamin E oil. The container itself is recyclable and the packaging uses vegetable-based ink printed on 100% recycled paperboard.
All of the eco-kids products are made using ingredients you might find at home, like organic fruit extracts, meaning you have piece of mind if your child decides to test out how an eco-kids toy might taste.