Eco-Friendly Toys for Little Green Footprints
I believe if you are a parent you will be always on the hunt for attractive, educational toys for your kids (either babies, toddlers or older kids) that spark their interest and inspire creativity. Finding such toys but also keeping our planet in mind is not such a big challenge anymore…you just need to look in the right places!
With eco-friendly toys, we can provide children with toys that are made from safe, recycled, materials, and offer an opportunity to teach them about our environment and the ways we affect it, both positive and negative.
I have to say that I am not a fan of oil-derived plastic toys nor I find most stuffed toys appealing, specially those produced with hazardous chemicals and heavy metals that most can possess and can cause serious health issues in children; also because of the time it takes for plastic (and other petroleum based materials) to break down in landfill (often longer than 700 years), but I am pleased to see companies such as Lego® embracing plant-based plastics and pledging to decrease their carbon footprint; and most likely others will join very soon, making toys that last years and with minimal impact on the Planet´s and children´s health.
Watch following video on how Lego® is introducing plant-based in the toy building brick world:
TIPS FOR CHOOSING ECO FRIENDLY TOYS
Wooden toys, finger crochet puppets (don´t ask me why, love those things!!) and board games are my personal favourites; nevertheless there is a huge array of products nowadays for all ages, made from varied eco materials; Now, for it to be even more sustainable, aka eco-friendly, there are a few things we need to check with the brands/retailer (usually this info is available in the brand/retailer website, in the package or the vendor can elucidate):
- where it was made? it is quite different is it has to travel 10.000 kms to get to your hands isn’t it?!;
- who made it? Where the workers fairly payed to source the raw materials or to actually make the toy? (you can see this on the company’s webpage, in the social responsibility section or in some cases just look out for the Fair Trade Certified™.)
- are the source materials eco-friendly as well? Is the paper/cardboard recycled? the wood from FSC and PEFC certified forests? are natural paints used? was it generated from wasted products? (plastic bottles for eg.); natural fibres used (wool, cotton, etc)?
- does it need packaging? if yes, is it based on renewable sources?
This way I believe we are supporting local economy, fair trade and the environment.
If you can´t find any retailer or shop selling eco toys near you try in a second-hand shop (it is amazing what you can find in these!); still nothing? Ok your other option is buying online – check: Jiminy.ie, LittleGreenFootprints.com.au, EthicalSuperstore.com, Bioblo.com and many others you can find online (find the one closer to you to reduce your footprint 😊).
Check this video for inspiration here.
MY PERSONAL TIPS
I feel quite shocked when I go to a friend´s house and see a kids room flooding in toys, some untouched (in the original package) and others in a corner waiting to be remembered. I am not a mother yet and i do understand that gifts are a major culprit, but it is up to us to REFUSE and EDUCATE others and our children that our preferences make a difference…and not only on the environment but to the child cognitive development; i encourage you to read this article, but to summarize: study shows that “children who have too many toys are more easily distracted, and do not enjoy quality playtime” and “fewer toys are better for children because sparse playrooms encourage creativity, help develop attention spans, and teach youngsters about taking care of their possessions”.
So, my tip is avoiding the flimsy throwaways and invest in something that’s good for the child development and environment!