Children lose interest in 25% of their toys after one week, and by the end of January, around 35% of Christmas toys are no longer loved*. This is why the theme for the inaugural World Sustainable Toy Day is Toys That Last.
The global ‘material footprint’ increased by 70% between 2000 and 2017. For those of us living in plenty we've got to put on the brakes. We can’t keep producing and consuming more and more products and expect the world to have unlimited capacity to provide us with everything we want. We need to shop carefully, considering the environment by choosing reusables over disposables and then looking after them well.
And if our jobs are to produce goods we need to do so responsibly. A toy industry based on a linear business model of disposable plastic toys is not sustainable. Nor does it match the desires parents and children have for a world with less waste and a lower carbon footprint.
We need to take the opportunity and responsibility to create toys that last longer. Ones that children are interested in for longer and even ones that can be passed down to the next generation.
The majority of the environmental problems we’re living with, and will live with in the future have been caused by unchecked consumption - businesses whose sole purpose is to make money for themselves and shareholders without consideration for where the raw materials are coming from, how much pollution is created and where the product and packaging ends up at the end of its life. We all need to start considering the Environment as a stakeholder in our companies and produce toys accordingly.
This World Sustainable Toy Day, I encourage you to think about the longevity of the toys you purchase for Christmas this year, to support sustainable toy makers and toy shops and, for those of us in the toy industry, consider the lifetime of the toys we create.
Helen's rocking horse that has been in the family for 3 generations!
By Helen Townsend