52 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint – 4. Toys

With Christmas on the way (only 3 months to go…), perhaps now is a good time to remind everyone that there is a better way to reward your kids than buying toys that quite often are forgotten about by the end of the holidays.We have probably noticed the tremendous amount of toys kids seem to have today, much more than when we were kids. Why? Well, today’s toys are much much cheaper and more plentiful and the manufacturers and retailers take advantage of the tremendous reach of marketing to influence our spending habits and take advantage of a parent’s basic instinct to give their children the best they can afford. The result is a world drowning in toys.

  • It’s expensive
    • The world toy industry is valued at almost USD$100 billion per year.
    • For example in the UK, spending per child is almost $500 per year.
  • and very wasteful
    • Most toys are made in Asia which means they travel great distances to be played with
    • Children typically play with toys for a very short period of time
    • A lot of modern toys are not designed to last long and will break very quickly
    • Most toys are made from plastic and are not recyclable
    • And this does not even consider the packaging or batteries (150 million tonnes a year, thrown away)

52 ways to reduce your environmental footprint, toy library, reuse, reduce waste

But there are practical solutions available and all of them are much cheaper and more healthy for the children.

Toy libraries are run in many Countries around the world and work in much the same way as actual libraries. Once you have joined, which can be free or sometimes for a small subscription, you simply borrow a toy or game, play with it and return it when it is due back. Simple really.

This simple act of borrowing and lending toys has such an incredible impact in saving the planet’s resources it can be hard to imagine.

Playing outside, in this mysterious world, a child can let their imagination run wild. And remember that quite often, real things are almost always the best “toys”. Try gifting real gardening tools, cooking utensils, workshop tools, sewing kits, magnifying glasses etc.. Who knows, some people may even get some help from your child:)

And maybe my favourite is the gift of a new experience. A trip to the beach or playing in the woods, going hiking or making something together. All of these experiences are more often remembered than a cheap plastic toy that ends up as landfill.

It can be difficult not to give in to temptation and buy whatever is cool for the year but maybe it is time to gift something worthwhile rather than cool?

If you are looking for more ideas for this year, then here is a fantastic list from Lulastic in the UK- 60 great gifts for kids that aren’t toys.



There are so many ways in which we can help reduce our environmental footprint but with so much going on it is hard sometimes to remember. Rather than remember, the best way is to form a habit and the best way to form a habit is by utilising the 3 R’s:

  1. Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
  2. Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
  3. Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)

Each week, for 52 weeks, we will post a new idea to help you reduce your waste and work towards a cleaner less polluted lifestyle. Hopefully, by the end, some of the idea’s will become habitual and stick with you forever. Consider this to be your gift to the world.

#reducewaste #environmentalfootprint #onebrownplanet