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A sustainable way of playing toys

Plastic is a huge part of the toy industry. Ninety per cent of toys are made from some form of plastic and most of them aren't recyclable. As many toys are made out of plastic, tossing them out contributes to ocean plastic pollution, contaminating waterways with microplastics and adding to our overflowing landfills where they may never fully break down. It’s not just the environmental impact, but also the health effects. It is because some chemicals like phthalates used in the manufacturing of plastic toys, linked to a number of health issues, including birth defects, cancer and diabetes.

As we all know, children can quickly get bored of a certain toy, and want a new one once they do. A poll by the British Heart Foundation found that more than a quarter of parents admit to throwing away toys that are in perfect working order. It spoke to more than 2,000 people and found children have an average of four toys they've never played with. With the toy industry hitting billions of dollars worth of sales and showing no signs of slowdown, we must do something to help our environment.

To avoid plastic altogether and buy toys out of sustainable materials. There are loads of new eco-style brands that offer toys made from sustainable wood and recycled materials. Although they can be expensive, choosing toys that are made from wood, cotton, metal and natural rubber are considered feasible alternatives to plastic toys. If the choice of raw material enables it, do think about recycling. Paper, cardboard, cotton or even wood in some cities can easily be recycled. But be aware that a majority of toys are not recyclable because they are made out of plastic layers. Toy libraries present a great solution where toys can be continually recycled.

It’s more blessed to give than to receive. Donating functional toys for reuse is another option to reduce the waste. Apart from shelters and child care centers, some stores will accept clean and functional toys that can be resold. Moreover, you can also re-sell your unused toys on online platforms. Some toys like Legos, Hot Wheels, and Barbies actually hold their value quite well. But be honest about the condition of the toys, so people know what they’re getting.

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