How Your Children's Toys Can Help Save the Planet

One of life's greatest joys is watching children at play.  It is hard not to be inspired by their imagination, enthusiasm, and curiosity.   Watching an infant mesmerized by the joy of not only the ability to shake their rattle, but also the pure satisfaction of ramming it as far into their mouths as possible, is both a fascinating and entertaining pastime.  Observing a three-old who has convinced themselves they are a race car driver as they frantically pretend to race a toy car around an equally imaginary track may provide some parents fodder to think about what their child's future may hold in store.

What's the Carbon Footprint of Your Child's Toybox?

What might not come to mind as we watch children play with their toys is the impact those toys have on that child's current and future health, as well as the health and welfare of our environment.  The number of people who have become not only more aware of the footprint they leave on the environment but who are making a conscious effort to reduce that impact is certainly increasing.  Things such as reducing energy consumption and purchasing environmentally friendly products (such as home cleaners) have fortunately become more commonplace in more households around the world.


What to Think About Before Buying

However, outside of the most ardent environmentalists, most of us may have inadvertently overlooked our children's toys in our efforts to live eco friendly lives.  Additionally, locating and purchasing toys that are manufactured using eco friendly processes and materials requires taking into consideration a number of different factors.  For instance:
  • What distance did the toy product have to travel and in what manner was it transported?
  • What materials are used to package the product?  Is it "over-packaged?"
  • What materials are used to create the toy?  Are they toxic to the environment?  Do they pose health risks?

Simple Guidelines for Choosing Environmentally Friendly Toys

It can be difficult to purchase environmentally friendly toys, but there are a few guidelines you can follow when analyzing environmental impact:
  • Wooden toys produced using wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to have come from sustainable forests
  • Look for toys that are made with at least some recycled materials
  • Look for toys that openly list their "eco friendly credentials"
  • Opt for toys that don't require using batteries
  • Ensure that toys are PVC, BPA, Phthalate, Lead, and Petroleum free

Another perhaps more obvious strategy is to buy toys that are also well-made ensuring a long lifetime, enabling them to be recycled to other children rather than one that will break quickly and then linger at a refuse dump for generations to come. 

How Your Children's Toys Can Help Save the Planet How Your Children's Toys Can Help Save the Planet Reviewed by Sandipan Chakraborty on March 02, 2012 Rating: 5
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