Less toys is green – sure, that’s true. But I think my two kids are the most fun people on my list to shop for, so as many times as I tell myself that they have everything they need and more, I still end up picking a few new things for them.
Here are 5 tips for keeping your toy collection as green as possible.
1- Save the forest. Turning to wood toys instead of plastic is a great idea, but make sure that the wood from which the toys are made is sustainable; that is, that its use is not depleting forests. Rubberwood is a great choice. Also, if the wood is painted, it should be with a water-based paint. Example: ImagiPLAY Earthworm (for 6 months +)
2- Go without batteries – One benefit of kid-powered toys is that they often inspire more active and imaginative play. My kids love costumes and props of all kind. If I ever download the pictures, I’ll show you the felt cupcake set I made for them. Reducing use of batteries in your house impacts the environment, too. Toxic batteries in the landfill are no good.
We have this tea set from Green Toys, and use it all the time.
3- Look for “organic” – Yeah, it’s all the rage, but if your kid is putting a stuffed animal in her mouth, it matters. Polyester plush is made from plastic fibers with toxic, synthetic dyes that release harmful chemicals into the environment. Check tags and packaging of fabric toys for the words “certified organic” or “certified non-toxic” to be sure the products are safe and natural.
4- Recyle – Re-using materials keeps items out of landfills, saves energy and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The tea set above, as well as the recycle truck below (and in our sidebar) are made from 100% recycled milk jugs collected in California. They are both made by Green Toys.
5- Reuse stuff – Reducing our consumption of materials is good for the planet and good for our budgets. Swap toys with friends. Major purchases like a backyard play structure, musical instruments, ride-on toys can be done on Craig’s List. An 18-month old will certainly not realize his new train table did not come via UPS.