Plastic Toys: It’s not all fun and games

Day 152 – One of my least favorite toys that I had to assemble for my children was a kitchen. A rather large, plastic kitchen. All the pieces were attached and had to be separated before they could be reassembled to resemble a kitchen set. I did it all by myself on a Christmas Eve and it was absolutely the worst. However, the kids loved it! And when it’s all said and done, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Well, I sure drank the KoolAid on that misconception. Most of us don’t give much thought about the cheap, plastic toys we purchase for our children or young people in our lives. Our main concern is usually their happiness. So, we spend our money on toys that will most likely not even last a year and will end up in the trash.

About 90% of today’s toys are made from plastic. Sadly, most of the plastic is not recyclable. Think about the plastic toys you played with as a kid. Those same toys are still sitting in a landfill somewhere and will be there for centuries to come.

So, what are our options when looking to purchase toys?

Find toys made from other materials, like wood, cotton, metal or natural rubber

Companies like Big Future Toys and Begin Again Toys are finding other ways to produce fun and entertaining toys without the use of plastic.

Find toys made from recycled material

Companies like Green Toys and Luke’s Toy Factory are using recycled material to create their toys.

Find toys with take back programs

Numerous toy manufacturers are taking back their toys. If you have toys that have reached the end of their life, from any of the following companies, you can ship them, at no cost, to be recycled. Be sure to check out the list of accepted toys for each program.

Hasbro

V-Tech

Leap Frog

SpinMaster

Matel

Lego

*The Northcenter Neighborhood Association Recycle Popup collects all the toys listed here. The next popup is June 19th.

Find alternatives to toys

Another great option to avoid plastic toys, is to give the gift of an experience. Maybe it’s a trip to the bowling alley, or the arcade. A movie with all the popcorn and candy you can eat, a hike in a beautiful wooded area, or a day at the waterpark, would all make awesome gifts.

So, the next time you are faced with the challenge of finding that perfect gift consider avoiding the cheap plastic toys. There are so many great alternatives out there. You just need to look.

Tomorrow, a company that has found a purpose for the plastic from discarded children toys.

Happy Innovation Day!

Day 47 – Today is the day we celebrate new ideas, new products, new technology and a new way of doing things. I thought today would be a good day to highlight some innovative companies that are putting the planet first and producing products that can help the environment.

Fair Harbor Clothing – There signature boardshorts and swim trunks are made using post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, transformed in to functional fabric at factories they visit personally and regularly. Fair Harbor creates a full range of stylish and thoughtfully designed clothing and swimwear from unique and sustainable materials.

GO-OPV’s ORENgE systemOrganic energy uses a thin film panel to capture the sun’s rays and converts it to power, similar to traditional solar power. The panels could be used for windows or trucks, phone or computer chargers, or it can be a building-integrated photovoltaics in glass. What makes organic energy different from solar power is that it is light-dependent, not sun dependent, meaning it will always create power as long as there is some form of natural light. Producing the OPV also has a lower impact on the environment compared to silicon solar panels.” – Leighton Schneider (ABC News Reporter)

Gumdrop LTD “Gumdrop Ltd has been founded on a closed loop recycling process. Gum-tec® is used to manufacture the Gumdrop Bin and Gumdrop on-the-go, pink receptacles designed specifically for the disposal of waste chewing gum. Gumdrops are bright pink and look like strawberry flavored bubble gum bubbles. Once the Gumdrop is full, the whole Gumdrop along with its contents of waste gum is recycled and processed to manufacture new Gumdrops, the cycle starts again. Gumdrop Ltd collaborate with manufacturers and companies globally in order to offer innovative products made from recycled and processed chewing gum. With Gumdrop’s help, recycled and processed chewing gum can become a vast number of things from boots, to mobile phone covers, stationary, packaging and much more. As well as being used as a more sustainable choice to virgin plastics.” – Gumdrop LT

Green Toys – Their toys are made from 100% post-consumer recycled high density polyethylene (milk jugs). The toys are made in the USA. All products are packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard and printed with minimal color using soy inks.

So, on this day of ground breaking ideas and Earth saving products, seek out companies that make their #1 priority the planet and keeping it safe.

Tomorrow, an organization recycling and repurposing just about everything.