The team behind learning toy company Click-A-Brick are encouraging parents to look for sustainable ways to discard their children’s old toys rather than just throwing them away in the garbage.
A recent article on the Treehugger website said that Americans purchase $18 billion worth of toys annually and also revealed that more than 40% of the toys purchased over the holiday season are broken by spring the following year.
As approximately 90% of toys on the market are made of plastic, discarded toys mean a lot of plastic is being thrown away. Compounding the problem of sustainably discarding old toys is the fact that many toys are made from different materials, often having small metal pieces or other materials to hold them together. This mixture of materials means toys are especially difficult to recycle. In addition to different materials, toys are often made out of types of plastic that aren’t easy to recycle. Unlike a drink container, toys are often made of plastic resins that not all recyclers are equipped to accept.
Click-A-Brick co-founders Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say they recommend parents try to donate their children’s old toys to friends and family first. If no friends or family are in need of toys, thrift stores and charities will often take toys as long as they are still in good shape. Some communities have toy libraries -- where parents can borrow toys like they would books from a regular library -- that may be interested in donations of used toys, the entrepreneurs say.
For really old or broken toys that cannot be donated, there are some recycling options, the pair of businessmen say. Municipal recycling programs may be able to take certain toys depending on what type of plastic they are made of. Many private recycling companies can accommodate toy recycling. E-Cycle Environmental, for example, shreds old toys and then separates them into their various different materials. Some electronic toys can be disposed of via electronic recycling, they added.
Smith said with the learning toy’s design and use of a single material, Click-A-Brick is easy to reuse for years.
“With Click-A-Brick specifically, we encourage people to pass them along to other family members or donate them to a charity,” Smith said. “Click-A-Bricks are pretty sturdy, so they don’t tend to break like action figures and other toys like that. They’re also quite easy to clean and disinfect and because they’re made from a single material, even if people do need to recycle them, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a place that takes that type of plastic.”
Smith added that the company feels an extra obligation to advocate for recycling, as its products are plastic.
“We’re a toy company whose products are made of plastic, and we know there is a chance they might end up in a landfill along with a lot of other toys people don’t need anymore. That -- along with the general responsibility for the planet that anyone should have -- is a big reason why we advocate for the proper disposal of toys, including Click-A-Brick. If we had our way, every Click-A-Brick set would be passed along or donated and reused for years. So, we just ask our fans to be cognizant of how they recycle our product.”