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What to Know About Recycling Plastic Toys

We all have a collection of plastic toys, from action figures to play sets, that our kids and grandkids have outgrown. But when it comes time to discard them, can we recycle these plastic toys? It turns out the answer might surprise you! Let’s explore what you need to know about recycling plastic toys.

Are Plastic Toys Actually Being Recycled?

It’s a common misconception that all plastic toys can be recycled. In reality, most cannot due to the fact that they are composed of a variety of different materials, such as PVC and PP. It’s just too difficult for recycling centers to separate these components; in addition, some have metal pieces embedded within them, making it impossible to remove and recycle them separately.

This means that most plastic toys will end up in landfills or incinerators after they reach the end of their life cycle—unless parents get creative and find other ways to repurpose them.

For instance, you could convert an old dollhouse into a storage unit, or use Legos to create picture frames or jewelry boxes. Doing this not only gives plastic toys a second life but is also a great way to introduce children to the concept of recycling and sustainability.

If we all make an effort to reduce our consumption of plastic toys, or at least creatively rethink how we reuse them when they become obsolete, then perhaps one day we’ll have plastic toys that are actually recyclable! That would set a huge example for future generations about resource management. 

Do Types of Plastic Used in Toys Matter?

For anyone who is concerned about the environmental impacts of buying toys, it’s important to consider the type of plastic used. Most toys are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polypropylene (PP), though these materials are rarely recycled due to their difficulty in separating them from other materials.

The most effective way to identify if a toy is made up of recyclable material is to look for the chasing arrows symbol at the bottom. Commonly referred to as the three-arrowed triangle or recycling symbol, it’s a reliable indicator that the toy can be recycled and should be kept out of landfills.

Although recycling plastic has its benefits, understanding how it can impact our environment can help us make better decisions when purchasing toys and selecting which materials we choose.

PVC and PP toys tend to create more greenhouse gas emissions during production than the more sustainable options like paperboard or glass plastics, so responsibly choosing what types of plastic you buy for your kids really matters in terms of sustainability.

Moreover, reducing packaging on toys can also provide significant environmental benefits—and potentially save some much-needed money!

Recycling Alternatives

If your toy cannot be recycled, there are still some alternatives available.

  • Donating is always a great alternative – as long as the toy still works and is in decent condition, you can give it away to local charities or thrift stores that may know of a child who can appreciate them.
  • Another way to go about it is to upcycle materials with the help of DIY tutorials. Old plastic toys can easily be transformed into planters, birdhouses, lamps, and other decorative items – all while using creativity!
  • And if you’re really looking for something more out of the box, companies like TerraCycle specialize in transforming all types of products—from food scraps to couch cushions—into new items such as furniture and jewelry.

With a little bit of effort and imagination, there are many ways to repurpose old materials rather than chucking them out altogether. So consider these alternatives when disposing of an old toy for an eco-friendly solution that benefits our planet!

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