It may seem like a bargain at the time, but cheap plastic toys are everything but a bargain.
Imagine my glee at finding a box of 99 plastic food items at Target! “Yippy!”, I exclaimed. Perfect fit for the gorgeous little wooden kitchen Master 1st born had. Eggs, Carrot, Capsicum, Chicken Drumstick… and loads of little plastic plates, forks and knives. Plenty to play with, pretend to cook with and…spread across the house!
That was about 4 years ago. Master 1st born is 2 weeks shy of 5 years of age and starts kindy today (glad I am typing as tears would stain the paper if I wrote, but that’s for another time, another blog)
I’ve learnt a lot since the ’99 box’ day. An awful lot, awfully fast. Who doesn’t once you’ve had kids? Don’t they teach you a lot!
One of the biggest things Master 1st, 2nd and 3rd born have all taught me is that “Plastic is not Fantastic”
Whilst we still have plenty of plastic toys in the house, and I swear allegiance to always adore Lego (I still get immersed in lego construction!), Hubby-extraordinaire and I have solemnly vowed to buy wooden and ethically produced toys first and foremost. Why is it a big deal?
Well, let me count the reasons we have taken this step in our house:
1) Happy plants, happy planet. Now, I’m not a total greenie, I’ll admit it. I’m kinda on board with climate change certainly I am to the extend that we should all strive to leave as little a footprint as possible. So, what happens to all the plastic toys that break (at an extraordinarily fast rate!), where do they end up, recycled or not? When you think of the damage plastic water bottles do to the environment, do you think about the discarded, broken plastic toys too?
My argument here goes to longevity of toys. Wooden toys are built to last. They are also aesthetically more pleasing and more likely to be past on to siblings and charity shops for resale. So green support it is, by buying less toys in the first place, using them longer and passing them on!
2) Conscience calling. When launching my own baby goods business, investigations into the manufacturing of toys made me feel a little nauseous. Approximately 80% of toys are manufactured in China, where unfortunately there have been numerous product recalls safety reasons (think lead) and many reports of child labour. (see article Assianews.it for a succinct summary of these “Chinese toys tainted by lead or made by child labour” ) . Whilst this blog doesn’t go into this, I can safely say that the majority of toys that have been recalled or are unsafe, and cheaply manufactured are plastic. Whilst China manufactures so many of the toys, it is almost impossible to avoid purchasing toys made in China, and I for one would not recommend all avoidance. What I do advocate strongly, is knowing if the toy has been manufactured under fair and equitable workplace agreements, where child labour is strongly opposed and safe manufacturing (of the toy and for the works) is paramount.
3) Value add. I’ve bought toys where I swear the packaging would have cost more than the toy inside to make. You know how it is, the toy is wired down into a cardboard box, with plastic molding holding it in place so grubby little hands at the shop can’t get at it. Sometimes I wonder if they should have class at school on how to unwrap ties on toys. It would be of more use that learning how to write out the words for numbers on the off chance you ever write a cheque! But there you are, 30 minutes, many swear words muttered under breath and finally, the toy is presented to child, who…breaks it. Then and there. “Hello little one, would you like a robust cardboard box to play with instead?”
4) Perfectly paired. I only have 10 toes assigned to 2 feet, they are to last me my life, and I can’t bear to step on anymore plastic toys strewn across the house (why is it that it can’t be contained? Inverse relationship with socks, they disappear each wash, plastic toys multiply per play)
So all you gorgeous mammas out there, and friends of the little people (aka. Kids) choose your toys wisely and carefully, if you don’t want it to end in tears (yours for the plastic takeover, kids for the broken toy yet again…)
|Really, which would you prefer?