When toys are looking a little ragged and your child has given up playing with them, you just toss them in the trash can, right?
That’s the worst possible thing you can do with old toys.
The team here at Click-A-Brick encourage families to look for sustainable ways to discard children’s old toys rather than just throwing them away in the garbage.
A recent article on Treehugger.com said Americans purchase about $18 billion worth of toys every year.
And while $18 billion is a big, impressive number, here is another number that is big, but terrible: more than 40% of toys purchased over the holiday season each year end up broken by the following spring.
So, if you bought 10 toys for your child over Christmas, it is likely that four of those toys would be broken by Earth Day on April 22.
Almost all toys contain at least some plastic. And many of them contain multiple materials like little bits of metal. This makes toys difficult to recycle. Another thing that makes toys difficult to recycle is that they are often made with types of plastic that recyclers just don’t accept.
What you can do:
Recycling old toys is easy. Here are some ways you can recycle your children’s old toys.
For undamaged toys:
- Try to donate old toys to friends and family first.
- If no friends or family are in need of toys, thrift stores and charities will often take toys as long as they are still in good shape.
- Some communities have toy libraries where parents can borrow toys like they would books from a regular library. If your community has one of these, they may be interested in donations of used toys.
For toys that are too old or broken to be donated:
- Municipal recycling programs may be able to take certain toys depending on what type of plastic they are made of.
- Many private recycling companies can accommodate toy recycling. E-Cycle Environmental, for example, shreds old toys and then separates them into their various different materials.
- Some electronic toys can be disposed of at places that specialize in electronic recycling.
It takes a little more effort than just throwing your toys in the trash can, but recycling them is better for the environment and gives you the opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of recycling and reusing.
You already know how much we love learning here at Click-A-Brick, so help your kids learn about the importance of recycling by having them recycle some of their old toys.
[Photos courtesy of Martin Cooper and Ian.Kobylanski on Flickr]