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December is always decked out in red and green with ribbons and evergreens to celebrate the winter and the holidays. Make your December shopping more eco-friendly this year with some sustainably made green toys for the kids on your list.
You remember that sustainability encompasses three facets – memorized by students either with the three Ps or the three Es. People, Planet, Profit or Environment, Economy, Equality. So we’re thinking about toys better for people who make them, for the the earth and for the economy.
Toys made from renewable resources, like wood, are more sustainable than toys made from non-renewable resources, such as plastic. The environmental impact of drilling for oil to make plastic is greater than that to harvest trees for wood. Trees will also grow back within a few decades, at the most, while oil takes thousands of years to be produced. Also, generally, plastic toys break easier, ending up in the landfill or recycling bin, while wooden toys can be fixed, lasting for years or even generations. You may also want to be even more discerning and purchase toys made from bamboo which grows faster than other trees. While I am not quite advocating giving up plastic Legos for this wooden variety (my kid would kill me!), it’s at least interesting to know they are out there.
Some toys just work better when they’re made from plastic such as tub toys. There are still green tub toy options! It’s a growing trend to create toys made in the United State and out of recycled materials and the company (not ironically named) Green Toys is leading the way. Read more about other companies at Plastics Today. Check packaging labels and, like everything else, buy recycled when you can.
Anything produced closer to your home is greener than something made far away. The impact of transporting goods across the world is minimized. Taxes from both your purchase and the income from the sale will go to your local government, giving a tiny boost to your economy. Craft shows are a great place to find locally made toys that are often one of a kind or unique. You may also find locally made toys on Etsy when you choose a custom shop location. Environment, economy and equality triple win!
Retro or Already Loved
Yeah, I’m talking about used toys here. It might be hard to think about giving a child a thrifted gift but what about a cherished toy from your own childhood? What about your own collection of Legos? Or something really hard to find from 30 years ago? Already loved toys can make a special gift with the right presentation and a great story. Retro toys, since they’re still around, might have been made with higher quality materials and so harder to break, thus reducing waste.
What are your kids’ favorite green toys? What is your proudest green gift giving moment?