Every parent knows how quickly kids lose interest in their toys – too many of those shiny, plastic baubles on the shelves end up in the landfills in a matter of months, if not weeks, as soon as it breaks or as soon as your child decides to move on to something else.
Here’s the impact of our toy obsession on the environment and why we should consider switching to eco-friendly toys like these ones from Teachers Choice.
Why do most plastic toys and toys packages end up in landfills?
Environmental groups generally don’t consider most plastic toys as single-use plastic. However, inexpensive, trendy plastic toys typically have shorter life spans than their high-quality counterparts and can be difficult to recycle.
According to Pew Charitable Trusts, some toys contain flexible monomaterial plastics that don’t hold their shape and can be difficult to recycle as their low weight means that collecting them in significant amounts is not very cost-effective for most recycling centres.
Even when plastic toys contain recyclable components like metal, these materials often can’t be separated from the rest of the toy, posing yet another challenge to recycling centres.
Further, most mainstream toys are packaged in layers upon layers of plastic wrapping in addition to plastic containers that contribute to waste.
The practice of “unboxing”, in which children and their parents take videos of themselves unboxing new toys to be uploaded on social media, has driven the trend of excessive packaging for mystery collectibles – children often don’t know which toy they’re getting until they unwrap the item, which is often concealed in multiple layers of plastic to heighten the excitement of unboxing.
The benefits of choosing wooden eco-friendly toys for your children
Eco-friendly toys are a great option for families that want to transition to green living:
- They’re easier to recycle – Toys made from sustainably sourced and certified wood are composed of natural material that is easier to recycle. Wooden toys are also easier to repurpose and can be incorporated into upcycled furniture and home décor, for example.
- They’re less likely to end up in the landfills – High-quality wooden toys can withstand a bit of damage, especially if they’re made from hardwoods like maple and birch. These toys are therefore less likely to end up in the trash bin if you’re child drops or bangs them one too many times.
- They’re durable – Toys made from sustainably sourced wood are highly durable and can be passed down in the family as they retain their shape with proper care and storage. They’re also easier to re-paint and repurpose in case you want to breathe new life into old wooden toys and spark your child’s interest anew.
- They’re timeless – There’s something to be said about the timeless beauty and romance of wooden toys. From rocking horses to doll’s houses, wooden toys are classic additions to your child’s playroom. And yet wooden toys also have a modern quality to them. Wooden building blocks and abaci that come in bright colours come to mind, as do wooden puzzles that have been cut into geometric shapes with laser precision.
- They’re cheaper in the long run – According to research by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), the average family spends $581 (USD) on toys each year while Roy Morgan Research found that a staggering 2.6 million Australians buy toys and games within a four-week period, each spending $80 on average.
Because wooden toys are durable and timeless, they will actually save you more money in the long run. Your children will get more use out of high-quality toys with open-ended designs, which means that you will be buying fewer toys overall to replace broken or dated mass-manufactures ones.
They also found that classic toys like wooden building blocks and bicycles were more likely to be repurposed.
If you’re ready to switch to eco-friendly wooden toys for your children, Teachers Choice offers a wide range of teacher-approved, high-quality educational wooden toys. Visit our shop today.