More and more these days, retailers are offering green toys for consumers to purchase for their kids. Families are concerned about issues like lead (often in items manufactured in China), plastic (created from petroleum) and other items that can easily become broken and then discarded into the trash where they end up in a landfill.
That’s why the best eco-friendly toys are made from wood, according to the Oregon Environmental Council. Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis, environmental health program director, observes:
“You don’t have to worry about potential off-gassing of toxic chemicals from a wood toy.”
If wood toys aren’t on the list for your children this year, you can still be a wise consumer to find other great eco-friendly toys.
Some plastic toys are now made from 100% recycled plastic. Look for labels that state that the items are polyvinyl chloride-free or lead-free. Watch out for BPA, cadmium and mercury, as well. If you are purchasing toys manufactured before 2008 (when the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 banned lead and phthalates in childrens toys), you may want to test for lead using a swab for lead-testing, available at home improvement stores. Avoid vinyl when possible because chemicals and other metals are added to stabilize the plastic, which will then off-gas over time.
Beyond the components of eco-friendly toys, consider packaging, as well. I just hate clamshell packaging and would consider purchasing one item over another simply because of how it is sold! Manufacturers have greener options for both producing and packaging toys.
For more information about the best eco-friendly toys, check out www.healthystuff.org and www.goodguide.com. If you would like to see whether a toy has been recalled, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall page.
Happy Holidays and hope you find the best eco-friendly toys for all the kids on your list!