That’s right! 90% of kids’ toys globally are made of plastic.
It’s a proud boast in the ever-popular Plastics:le Mag out of France, which notes:
“The reason why plastics are such a hit with industry (and not just toy makers!) is because they are relatively easily mouldable and dyeable. And the moulds can be in any shape and have a very long service life.”
What can we do about it?
- Get rid of the kids.
- Get rid of the plastic.
Neither of these is easy.
Sure, you can simply buy less for the kids and grandkids … good luck with that! And of course there are boutique providers of toys made from wood and other natural products … try ordering those in time for Christmas!
Recycling is apparently problematic because of the wide range of plastics used:
Polypropylenes (PP): polymers, copolymers, homopolymers: indoor and outdoor educational games, tricycles, garages, carriers …
Polyethylenes (PE): low, medium and high density: large volume outdoor toys, dolls, telephones, pull-alongs …
Polystyrenes (PS) : board game cases, toy components and structures (cranes, garages, toy tea sets…), rattles, puzzles, tiles, replica toys, doctor’s bags …
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC):Dolls, balloons, carnival masks
Polyamides (PA): replica toys
Elastomers: Baby toys
Synthetic resin: Modelling and moulding games
The various copolymers (ABS, EVA, SAN): rattle parts, educational blocks, indoor toys, teething rings …
Can you guess the biggest seller of plastic toys of all-time?
That would be Lego, with 325 billion units sold worldwide (that’s boxes, not bricks).
They seem to be working on sustainability to some degree. They are replacing the plastic bags that contain bricks with paper ones. And have introduced bricks made from sugar cane.
In the US, Lego has a program to make sure bricks stay in circulation. You can send back those old sets after your kids have outgrown them. The company will sort and clean the bricks and then redistribute them through charities like Teach for America.