If your home is being overrun by toys and you’re dreading the inevitable invasion of new toys this coming Christmas, than episode 5 of my Eco Chat podcast is for you!

Podcast: Play in New Window

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I’m not sure if it’s the comparative cheaper price of toys nowadays, parents working longer hours or the fact children spend more time indoors than those of previous generations, but children today seem to have more toys than those of generations past.

Given it’s been estimated that around $1 billion is spent in Australia annually on retail toy sales, it’s not surprising that many homes (and landfills) are simply bursting at the seams with toys.

In this Eco Chat podcast episode I discuss the many environmental impacts of modern toys (including the batteries they contain), eco play alternatives and even suggest some ideas for helping to stop the toy invasion from well-meaning relatives at Christmas time.

It’s not about being a ‘party pooper’, but rather about being creative when it comes to play ideas, making conscious purchases, going for quality over quantity and being aware of the environmental impact of your toy purchase (ESPECIALLY if the toys has batteries).

The environmental issues of toys are many and include:

  • Toys are designed to be short-lived and are easily broken and discarded soon after purchase.
  • Toys are typically made from plastic, of which oil, a non-renewable resource, is the main component.
  • Approximately 75% of the world’s toys are produced in China. Most toys sold in the western world have therefore travelled great distances from where they are manufactured to our homes, which isn’t without environmental impact in itself.
  • Toys generate significant packaging waste (think boxes boxes, ties to hold the toy in place and plastic wrapping) which is discarded as soon as the toy is opened.
  • Many modern toys rely on batteries to run… and these are an environmental issue in themselves.

Australia imports over 267 million disposable batteries and 50 million rechargeable batteries a year , which is just mindblowing! (ABS, 2005). However, the greatest environmental concern surrounding batteries is the impact they have at the end of their lives. Australia hasn’t embraced battery recycling – it is estimated that around 94 per cent of dead batteries end up in landfill – and this is where the most serious problems start, as batteries contain heavy metals and when they’re disposed in this manner, toxins such as nickel and cadmium can leach into our environment.

It all sounds pretty wasteful hey! But it doesn’t need to be!

In this Eco Chat podcast episode I cover many alternative play ideas and share some of my best tips for helping to curb the toy invasions (especially if it comes from well-meaning relatives!).

I’d love to hear how you curb the toy invasion in your home. Feel free to share you best eco play ideas below.