Wooden Toys vs Plastic Toys: 4 simple ways to make sustainable choices for your family

The environment and cutting down on waste has always been important to me. So, here are a few of the things we try to do at home - and why! 

Choose Wooden Toys - if we are buying toys new then we buy good quality wooden toys from brands that we can trust. At PuzzleBug, all of the other businesses and makers we work with use wood from sustainable sources and have environmental issues and human rights as central values too. Some businesses (like Plan Toys, Lanka Kade and TenderLeaf) plant trees for every product sold, to make sure that they are driving the cycle of regeneration. 

Buy Second Hand - we have some plastic toys at home which my kids love! I don’t buy any of these things new though and tend to pick up things on local online marketplaces. This saves money too! We also have some great ‘Reuse’ groups locally - where you can give away toys you’re finished with and pick up items you’d like for free. It’s a brilliant way to make sure that toys live out a full life and can be enjoyed over and over again. We’ve also gifted toys that we’ve finished with to local playgroups and schools, so they can be enjoyed by other children once our family has finished with them. 

Fix and Repair - wooden toys tend to be much easier to fix than most plastic toys; which can extend their lives significantly. They also tend to be much more durable and last a lot longer in the first place. Most wooden toys can be glued back together with wood glue if they do get broken (make sure you protect the wood with cardboard to prevent dents and use a clamp to get a tight fix). If there are marks that you can’t get out then wood can also be sanded back, repainted and sealed with toy-safe paint/sealant/organic oil if needed. 

Clean and care - Wood has natural antibacterial qualities so is a great material for toys. To keep them clean and sparkly give them a wipe over periodically with a warm water and white vinegar mix (10:1 ratio). If there are stains or marks then try using a 1:1 water to vinegar ratio solution to clean them off. Never soak them in water or use any harsh cleaning products. 

We all try to make good choices for our families. Whether that’s to do with the food you eat, the activities you enjoy together or the toys that your children play with - it’s all about deciding what works best for your family and your home!

So, here’s a quick summary of what we try to do:

  • Buy long-lasting, sustainable and ethical
  • Buy second-hand and reuse/regift
  • Fix and look after what we have

What's important to you and your family with the products you choose? I'd love to know in the comments! 

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