Sustainability: 7 ways toys can inspire a kinder world.
December 17, 20213 min read
Today's parents are environmentally-aware. They look for toys and gifts that are safe for their kids and kind to our planet. But, kids are impressionable and influenced by what they see through advertising, which isn’t always the best option for our environment. This makes our job as parents even trickier! But there are ways we can use toys to teach kids about sustainability.
Teaching kids about sustainable living
If we surrender to marketing at every opportunity, what message are we sending our kids? As difficult as it may be, we must make little changes to make a big difference. Here are some ideas to get you started;
Educate your child
Kids are curious and moments of play can be opportunities to teach them about sustainability and caring for our environment. Look for ways to spark discussion: What is the toy made from? How is it made? How long will it last? What happens to toys once they’re broken or no longer loved? Simple, explanations can help kids understand why plastic should be bought in moderation.
Limit plastic toy purchases
While we can take time to educate our children about sustainability, sometimes it’s simply too difficult to say ‘no’. But, for our children’s wellbeing, we should consider limiting the number of plastic toys in our home. Materials used to make such products often can’t be recycled and are filled with chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), styrene, polycarbonate, cadmium and lead. Instead, look for natural, long-lasting alternatives such as silicone, wood or rubber.
Give toys and gifts made from natural materials
Giving toys and gifts made from natural materials evokes a sense of quality and shows that you care about our environment. These items help to reduce the amount of plastic pollution bound for landfill and often become gifts that are treasured or passed on. So, when it comes to birthday or Christmas presents from loved ones, feel free to suggest items that are stylish, durable and plastic-free.
Adopt a waste-free mindset
Children thrive on challenges so try treating waste-reduction as a game. Give them points for sustainable choices such as turning off lights, taking shorter showers or recycling cans. You could even deduct points for wasting resources. It’s a fun way to make kids more mindful about conservation and minimising waste.
Choose to reuse
Did you know that 90%* of today’s toys are made from plastic, most of which ends up in landfill? With statistics like this, it’s scary to think what lies ahead for our grandchildren! Now is the time to lay the foundations for a sustainable future. Let’s show our kids why some materials are better than others and encourage them to repurpose or donate their unwanted toys and gifts. Toy libraries and not-for-profit organisations appreciate quality pre-loved toys.
Upcycle or recycle
Recycling plastic toys is difficult, which is why many council programs won’t accept them. The main problem is identifying which plastics have been used. At Little Change Creators, our products are designed for functionality and repeat-use. We use quality materials and encourage users to repurpose, re-gift and donate. We are also considering a recycling solution offered by Terracycle.
Less is more
As parents, sometimes we think that purchasing fewer gifts or a gift with more meaning will spell the end of our toy clutter and shame. But kids are conditioned to receive and expect, especially at times such as Christmas, so this approach won’t always work. Instead, try opting for experiences or gifts to instil gratitude: a journal, memory jar, inspirational books or, for something creative, a reusable colouring set.
Gifts that keep giving
Given the importance of sustainability, we must consider eco-friendly and ethical products whenever possible. However, it’s worth remembering that any item that’s well-made and loved will stay out of landfill for longer. With that said, the best gifts are those which bring joy to the giver and the receiver – a gift that keeps on giving.