Turn playtime green: How to pick eco-friendly toysWednesday, March 05, 2014 by: Greener Ideal
By Chris Keenan
When it comes to toys, most parents are aware of how important it is to select age-appropriate products for their little ones. However, there are other issues with toys that go beyond whether they are a choking hazard or not. Most toys, for example, are not made with the environment in mind; in fact, some even contain toxic materials. Green toys are a great option for parents that want to have fun with their children but don’t want to worry about what they are playing with. These tips will help you choose wisely the next time you go toy shopping.
Staying away from plastic is easier said than done; the vast majority of children’s toys are created from it. However, there are a few other options. Look for solid wood toys or items made out of felt, cotton or wool. If you do choose a wooden toy, look for something with a non-toxic finish. If do decide to bring home a plastic toy, avoid BPA and PVC at all costs. This is particularly true if you think the child will put the toy in his or her mouth. Instead, look for plastics #1, 2, 4 or 5 as they are safer; you should be able to find what kind of plastic the toy was made with by looking at the bottom of the packaging.
Free Batteries present a lot of problems. Non-rechargeable batteries, for example, eventually go bad and wind up in landfills. In addition, batteries are made with toxic metal, which many parents do not want around their children. Toys that are battery-free help stimulate the imagination; they also get kids up and moving because they encourage activity.
Babies and toddlers don’t need much. They often enjoy sitting in the laundry basket or playing with a box. Get creative, and help your little one learn to enjoy what they already have before purchasing a bunch of new toys. Your child likes playing with you, regardless of what you are actually playing with, and the time you spend together is better than any toy. Also, consider swapping toys with your family members and friends. This simple idea is an easy way to make your toy rotation richer without emptying your wallet.
Many eco-conscious parents understand the importance of using local services, like Preventive Pest Control. However, the same concept holds true when it comes to toys. Purchase products made from local companies to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. Also, some foreign countries don’t regulate their toys as well as the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. If you do decide to buy from a global company, keep that in mind and stick to the ones that must adhere to stricter regulations. Shopping for toys sounds easy, but finding safe products that your child will enjoy is actually a bit difficult. However, if you go green, you can’t go wrong. Not only will your child have fun, but you won’t have to worry about what they are playing with. As an added bonus, the Earth benefits from your eco-friendly choices as well.