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What's An Eco Toy?

Date: 15-Dec-09

Eco Toy © Amy Nancarrow

When putting the environment first, there are many things to think about - how far the product has travelled, what the packaging is made out of, how the manufacturer runs its factories. Determining eco-credentials can be complex! But there are also some very easy steps we can take to be friendly to the environment.

Using again and again

Common sense tells us that re-using a toy is kind to the environment - the less often toys are purchased, the less impact there is on the earth, water and air. When the time comes to buy a new toy remember that good quality toys will survive for generations. A broken plastic toy that can't be fixed will go into landfill much more quickly - and stay there much longer - than a well-made wooden truck that can be mended.

Plastic or wood?

What about the plastic versus wood debate? When it comes to what your child is going to put into his or her mouth, a little research goes a long way. Some plastics contain bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to developmental problems in foetuses and young children. This is one chemical we really need to keep out of our environment.

Many beautiful long-lasting toys are made from wood and there are a number of European toy manufacturers who take pride in the wooden toys they craft. But wood comes from trees, and we want to protect our trees. Keep an eye out for companies that tell you about the wood they use, such as wood sourced from sustainably managed forests. Other environmental options, like Rubber Wood and Bamboo, are referred to as "sustainable" because they are in such abundant supply. Some companies have replacement tree planting programs.

Check them out

Choosing retailers (either online or real) that are open about their policies and checking out manufacturers' claims, customer reviews and eco-credentials before you buy new toys is good for the planet, as well as your children this Christmas.

With thanks to Vicki Harding.

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