Toying with Sustainability

Toys can provide hours of entertainment, but can be a disposal nightmare at their end of life. Annie Reece takes a look at how the toy industry has been playing around with sustainability…

This article was taken from Issue 71

Giving a child a new toy can be as exciting to the adult as it is to the child – but the pleasure can quickly wane, and cast-aside playthings can cause headaches when it comes to knowing what to do with them (and their packaging). Despite the UK toy market being the biggest in Europe (worth £2.9 billion in 2011, according to retail tracking group NPD), it is surprisingly difficult to dispose of toys in a sustainable manner in this country. Indeed, according to RecycleNow, there is almost nowhere to recycle toys, as neither household waste recycling centres nor kerbside schemes accept them. The crux of the problem, Natasha Crookes, Director of Communications at The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) tells me, is finding a balance between making safe toys, and making sustainable ones.