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  • Yes, Plastic Toys Are Bad for the Planet, But There's Another Reason Not to Buy Them

    They may be affordable, but plastic toys are non-biodegradable and contain harmful chemicals.
    by Kate Borbon .
Yes, Plastic Toys Are Bad for the Planet, But There's Another Reason Not to Buy Them
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  • Plastic toys are popular because, for one, many are pretty cheap. Add the colorful and vibrant designs, and kids cannot resist. But, as many parents know, it is only a matter of time before kids get tired of them and decide to leave them behind for another new toy, even if they might still be in good working condition. And when these plastic toys are not given away or donated, there is one final destination: the trash.

    Plastic is not biodegradable — those plastic toys will likely stay in their current form for decades and decades to come. Not only are these toys challenging to recycle, but there are possible health hazards posed by the chemicals used in manufacturing.

    The Huffington Post writes that according to a report by the New York Times, one type of chemical called phthalates, which is used to soften toys, is particularly dangerous because it has been associated with diabetes, cancer, and birth defects. And because children — especially very young ones — like to explore by putting random objects and toys in their mouths, they might be at a higher risk of exposure to those health hazards.

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    As a parent who just wants to make sure your child learns through play, you might be thinking, ‘Well, then what kind of toy should I give my child?’ Experts suggest trying out toys made of more sustainable and planet-friendly materials, such as wood, metal, and natural rubber.

    Eco-friendly toys tend to be pricier than their plastic alternatives, but you do end up saving more money because these are long-lasting as well (and you give our planet another fighting chance to survive).

    Be more intentional about purchasing toys

    One author suggests being more deliberate when buying new toys for your little one and not only because you can do your part in saving the environment.

    In an article for Becoming MinimalistJoshua Becker, author of The More of Less, describes new stuff as “horse blinders” that can cause children to become “laser-focused” on acquiring new objects instead of paying attention to real-life relationships — and he’s not wrong.

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    Kids will always want the next new thing, even if they may already have a lot of other perfectly good toys at home. But if we indulge because it is affordable, it may cause a whole plethora of negative attitudes in the child, such as being too materialistic. When you get home from work, instead of giving you a hug and a kiss, the first thing your child might do is ask: “Where’s my pasalubong?”

    If you want to take off the horse blinders, the key is to be intentional. Rather than simply going for the first toy you see at a mall sale or immediately giving in to your child’s whining, try being a bit more discerning about your purchases. Being intentional means cutting back on buying your child too many things too often. The occasional gifts are okay, but you don’t always have to have pasalubong with you every time you come home.

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    Instead, spend time with your child. Take the time to sit down and talk to her, making sure you are as involved and as attentive as possible during your conversation. More than anything, it is you that your child yearns for. Toys are fun, and they can be great to play with, but it is your relationship that she will hold on to throughout her life. Don’t miss out on the chance to deepen and strengthen it.

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