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22 April 2014

How Eco Toys are Making the World a Better Place

Eco toys offer a way to protect your children in present and provide them better future at the same time. They are made with non-toxic, recyclable, and sustainable materials. They do not contribute to the destruction of the environment in the same way as most modern toys do. As parents, we all hope that our children's future will be bright. We want to ensure we don't expose them to anything that could harm their health and protecting the environment is the same as protecting their future. Below, you will find several ways that eco toys make the world a better place for your children.

Made From Natural Versus Synthetic Materials
Most toys today are unfortunately made from plastics and other synthetic materials. Plastics are made from crude oil, a non-renewable resource. The economics behind this finite resource is driving the practice of fracking which strips the land, poisons the ground water, and there is now evidence that it may even contribute to earthquakes. It is also what drives the practice of drilling in the Arctic ocean where the chance of a catastrophic oil spill is exceedingly high and where weather conditions would make it near impossible to clean up. Furthermore, plastics do not biodegrade. In landfills, they can sit there for decades, even centuries, leaching out toxins into the ground water. In the oceans, sea turtles mistake plastic for jellyfish, their primary food, eat it, and die. The friendly bacteria in our wildlife's stomachs cannot digest the plastic that ends up in the oceans and streams. Buying toys that are made from natural materials like sustainable wood, bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, and wool... reduce the economic pressure of extracting the toxic finite petroleum resource.

Made From Recycled Plastics
If you must purchase plastic toys, try to find toys made from relatively non-toxic (food grade) recycled plastics like milk cartoons. Be particularly careful about buying pliable plastics because the chemicals used to "soften" the plastic are very toxic. These include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and bisphenol. These chemicals cause obesity, cancer, and mimic oestrogens giving boys and men gynaecomastia. They also cause miscarriages, ovarian cysts, female baldness, abnormal sperm, and other reproductive problems. If your child is still in the stage where they like to put their toys in their mouth, you may want to avoid plastic altogether. If you do buy plastic toys for children, be sure to look for BPA free, PVC free, and phthalate free plastic toys. This is especially important for pacifiers and toys that also serve as teething rings/toys - and really any toys made specifically for toddlers.

100% Recyclable Non-toxic Packaging
While it can be fun watching your kids rip into those packages on holidays and birthdays, it is also very sad to see your neighbours dump all those non-recyclable packaging materials into the trash can where the contents is headed straight for the land fill. When selecting a toy, be sure to consider the packaging on the toy and/or select toys that contain no packaging. Look for packaging that you can recycle 100%. Avoid styrofoam at all costs. It is highly carcinogenic and causes infertility. Unfortunately, styrofoam has become so pervasive that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found it in virtually all of the human fat tissue samples they assayed! Once in the fat tissue of a human, it can leach out harmful chemicals for years. It is time, as parents concerned for our children's future, we put a stop to this.

Eco Toys That Do Not Require Batteries To Operate
Batteries are one of the most toxic items we have in our houses and put in our landfills. They contain heavy metals like cadmium, mercury, and lead that pollute our groundwater, lakes, streams, and rivers. We end up consuming these heavy metals and so do the wildlife we share our planet with. In fact, it is estimated that 50 percent of the cadmium and most of the mercury found in our municipal water systems comes from disposable batteries. If your kids must have a high tech toy, be sure to purchase some rechargeable batteries to go along with their new toy.

Look For Super Eco Friendly Toys
While buying wooden toys made from the scraps of "sustainable" fast growing trees is a huge step in the right direction, buying toys made from bamboo and hemp is even better! These materials are far more sustainable. Bamboo is beautiful, looks like wood, and is just as durable as wood, more durable than some types of wood in fact. Hemp is so versatile, it can be soft or hard. While toys made from these super eco friendly materials can be hard to find, they are a growing cottage industry that has the potential to become much larger if more parents support them, even demand them. If you shop at a store that promotes eco friendly toys, you may want to take the time to chat with the shop owners and managers and let them know of your interest in bamboo and hemp eco toys. Encourage them to look for suppliers for these items. You can also encourage your local toy makers to use these materials.

Use Eco Toys and Recyclable Packaging As Fun Teachable Lessons
In the process of recycling your packaging materials, you can teach your kids the importance of recycling. If they requested a gift you decided against, it may be a worthwhile life lesson to take them to the toy store and show them the non-recyclable packaging. You can even make it into a game to see how many toys they can find that are packaged in 100% recyclable non-toxic materials. You could even let them select one toy in this category, under a certain spending limit of course. A field trip to the dump can also be an equally instructive memorable experience. When parents take the time to offer their children these types of first-hand experiences, combined with quality time with a parent(s), it makes an impression they'll never forget.


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