Plastic is a pretty topical story at the moment. Supermarkets are under fire for the amount of plastic packaging, partly due to the latest amazing series of Blue Planet. Looking at our toy collection though and you begin to wonder how many toys end up un-recycled on a rubbish heap somewhere.
Having a look around our house we have plastic balls, plastic cutlery, a range of early learning toys, plastic puzzles, dolls, plastic ducks, cars and a range of plastic household goods. These toys are great but like we know from the horrors of watching Toy Story 3 where all toys end up on the scrap heap. Worse still you could be watching Blue Planet only to see your Little Tyke car being injested by a killer whale and scorned by the national media.
The obvious answer is you don’t throw out, you recycle. Even when plastic claims to be recyclable you can’t be sure your local council will take that type of plastic. Councils do publish the types of plastic they collect from your door or via a recycling point. Don’t forget it isn’t just the packaging. That box and plastic wrap it came in is a equally ethical question.
The other option is to sell on so it isn’t your problem. That’s great that you do but at some point it won’t be your kids that break it but someone’s will. Can you guarantee it will end up being recycled. Even if you try to sell on or better still give to charity you can’t be sure that they will take it due to health and safety. How many of those plastic toys have electrics and are battery powered? The CE mark is a good indication of how far you might get recycling these items.
The more obvious option is not to buy your child that plastic toy and make sure you buy sustainably. I’ve always liked wooden toys. Even here you need to be careful. Not everything that claims to be sustainable is. You need to look for very specific messaging on packaging and assurances that it is.
It’s not just those presents for kids as this world is slowly being robbed of its innocence. Take our passion for throw away food and coffee. My office bin is a reminder of bins across the high street and offices. Every time I end up with a piece of plastic on my desk I facepalm these days as I’ve failed. It’s so easy to as well.
It makes you feel there isn’t any answer and in some cases you might want to ask will they really gain any long term benefit from the toys.
So here comes the challenge and it really is a challenge. Toys are great and Sofia is always really happy when she gets something new. However maybe an experience or a day out is better. At least any toy you buy should be fully recyclable and properly so. I want Sofia to grow up on a planet that is sustainable, where she can have her own kids on a world that’s not dying. So here is a New Years resolution.