What Makes An Eco-Friendly Toy
I must confess that living sustainably with children is not easy. As any tired parent will agree, convenience and budget often win when shopping for their little ones.
Try as we must, plastic seems to be in practically everything linked to children. Everything from baby food to car seats come wrapped in so much plastic.
Although it’s not easy shopping sustainably, there are solutions for parents to reduce their environmental footprint. Moving towards eco-friendly toys is a great start.
Here’s a little information on what makes an eco-friendly toy and why it’s important.
Why are people moving to eco-friendly toys?
First, let’s talk about why people are moving towards eco-friendly toys.
According to the National Geographic, every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.
Plastics often contain additives making them stronger, more flexible, and durable. But many of these additives can extend the life of products if they become litter, with some estimates ranging to at least 400 years to break down.
Often our plastics end up in the sea where sunlight, wind, and wave action break down plastic waste into small particles, often less than one-fifth of an inch across. These so-called microplastics are spread throughout the water column and have been found in every corner of the globe, from Mount Everest, the highest peak, to the Mariana Trench the deepest trough.
Microplastics are breaking down further into smaller and smaller pieces. Plastic microfibers, meanwhile, have been found in municipal drinking water systems and drifting through the air
Millions of animals are killed by plastics every year, from birds to fish to other marine organisms. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected and often killed by plastics. Nearly every species of seabird eats plastics.
What Is An Eco-Friendly Toy?
Eco-friendly toys are made from earth friendly materials that break down over time such as wood or natural rubbers. They are also made from recycled materials that are also recyclable.
Most environmentally friendly toys are made using non-toxic paints and materials. A double bonus of being safer for our little ones and kinder to the environment!
Wooden Eco-Friendly Toys
You will find that most eco-friendly toys are made with wood. But it’s important to look for toys that have been made from sustainably sourced wood.
Eco-friendly wooden toys are often made from trees that grow relatively fast, such as types of birch or maple . It’s best to avoid wooden toys that are made from cheap wood or trees that will take a long time to replace like oak.
The best eco-friendly wooden toys carry the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification or are made from reclaimed rubberwood and plywood.
The FSC is a not-for-profit organisation championed by the WWF. Having the FSC stamp means that a business has responsibly managed forests in their supply chain.
Toy brands such as Plan Toys and Tender leaf Toys use reclaimed rubberwood to make their toys. These are trees at the end-of their latex providing life and rather than being burned they are reclaimed and turned into beautiful toys.
Natural Rubber Toys
Natural rubber is non-toxic, biodegradable, breathable and can be sustainably harvested. What’s more, it’s a free of all sorts of nasties so a great choice for toys that inevitably end up in little mouths.
Recycled toys are made up of recycled materials and often, these toys can also be recycled when no longer needed.
Green Toys are a great example, they make all of their toys from recycled milk bottles and then package their products in recycled cardboard that can also be recycled. Go Green Toys!
At Wunderplay, you can be reassured that we only sell toys that have been ethically and responsibly made by trusted brands.
Of course we are not perfect, but we are taking steps every day to reduce our impact on the environment. One area we're working on is switching our range of responsibly sourced wooden toys to FSC certified toys.