As a parent, it is fair to want to offer the best to our kids and sometime the things we did not have during our childhood. However, plastic toys and their packaging are a big big big polluter... And with simple actions, we can help reducing the carbon foot print due to our kids playing.
Here are few ideas:
PREFER WOODEN TOYS
Wooden toys will encourage more your kid to be imaginative during play time. They are also more durable than plastic toys and of course contain less chemicals.
Aldi and Lidl offer a great range of wooden toys every year before Christmas but also some time to time during the year. You can check the up-coming product on their website to know when to get toys. Then, store them until a special occasion!
BUY YOUR TOYS IN STORES INSTEAD OF ONLINE. I know, this is not always possible. But for deliveries, packaging will be added again...
IF YOU BUY ONLINE, CHOOSE A LOCAL WEBSITE INSTEAD OF BIG PLATFORMS. Just that the toy does not go all around the world before arriving to your front door.
When you buy local, you are sure that the toy match EU regulation. If you purchase toys on international website and they come straight from Asia or even the States, you can not make sure they obey to EU regulations. And so what?! Will you say... well... The amount of chemical in certain plastic or foam toys coming from Asia can be dangerous for your baby's health and some tiny little part could be dangerous on soft toys for example.
AND AGAIN, IF YOU BUY ONLINE,TRY TO FIND A WEBSITE THAT USE REUSED PACKAGING FOR SHIPPING. I had the lovely surprise to receive this parcel when ordered a present for my daughter:
"Mimitoys" is a local company (County Meath) who offers a large range of toys to help kid in their personal development through playing at all stage from baby to pre-teen (https://www.mimitoys.ie/)
THINK SECOND HAND. You can buy perfect quality second hand toys in Charity Shops or online.
Before looking to buy a new toy, search online if you can find it second hand. You can look in different market places as Facebook Market Place or DoneDeal.
On Facebook, you will also find some groups where people give stuff away for free. I am on a local group called "Ashbourne Mums" where we offer for free the stuff we do not use anymore. I got great toys for my little one via this group and when she's done with them, I put them back online and pass them on to another family.
A few months ago, I got this little car for free that cost more than 50.00€ new:
HAVE YOU THINK ABOUT RENTING TOYS? I LOVE THE IDEA! Some toys will only be used a few time and baby will grow out of them really quickly. So sometime, it does not really make sense to buy them. If we think about Montessori Toys, Pickler Triangle, Climbing wall or other expensive toys, it worse it to rent instead of buying them. If your kid is done playing with them, great and if your kid seems convinced, maybe you can think of buying a new one, but at least, you know he/she will use them.
"DluluKaloo" is an Irish company that offers this service. They also allow parents to keep the same toys if their kid really likes it as some parents worry 'what will I do if my child likes the rented toy'. They ask for a security deposit in the value of the item plus a rental fee and at the end of the month they refund one or the other depending whether the baby likes the toy or not. So basically if they end up keeping the toy - no rental fee charged on that! Check now their great range of toys available for rental: https://www.dlulukaloo.ie/rental
"Clever Tots Toy Club" is another Irish Website that offer Toys Rental and promotes "development through play" for babies between 3 and 36 months old: https://clevertots.ie/
FINALLY, DON'T WRAP TOYS WHEN NOT NECESSARY. Last but not least. Avoid wrapping the toys when it's not necessary. You can chose some alternative methods like putting them in a reusable bag or a pillow case. If it's a BIG toy, cover it with a bed sheet. If the toy was delivered, leave it in the box and don't wrap it. I know wrapping boxes are prettier, but the paper brings no added value to the toy ; )
Feel free to comment and share your own tips & experience with us. And to spread the word for a more sustainable lifestyle, you can always share the article.
I need to precise that this article is only the reflection of my own though. There is no partnership with any of the brand or website mentioned above. I just appreciate to share some relevant information on a topic that matters to me and promote people and website that share the same values that we do. Thank you.