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Ecological footprint of toys on our planet: what you need to know

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What effect has toys on our nature?

In addition to fun, toys also have a negative impact on our nature. The ecological footprint of a toy is determined by the raw materials, materials, production processes and waste streams used to make it.

In this article I discuss the effects of toys on our nature and how you can reduce the ecological footprint of toys.

What is the ecological footprint of toys

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A closer look at the ecological footprint of toys

The ecological footprint is a way of looking at the impact of our consumption on the environment. It includes all kinds of factors, such as the amount of land and water surface needed to make products and process waste. With toys, this means that we take into account the materials, production processes and waste streams associated with them.

Why is it important to look at the ecological footprint of toys?

Unfortunately, many toy products have a negative impact on the environment. By consciously opting for more sustainable toys, we can reduce our personal ecological footprint. In addition, comparing different toy products helps us make more informed choices and adjust our behaviour.

What steps can you take to reduce the environmental footprint of toys?

There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the environmental footprint of toys:

  • Choose sustainable materials: Look for toys made from recycled or natural materials, such as wood or bamboo.
  • Watch out for harmful chemicals: Avoid toys that contain toxic chemicals, such as phthalates or lead.
  • Go for recyclable toys: Choose toys that can be easily recycled at the end of their life.
  • Buy fewer toys: By buying fewer toys, you reduce the demand for new products and reduce the amount of waste generated.

What are some examples of toys with a lower carbon footprint?

There are plenty of options when it comes to toys with a lower carbon footprint. Some examples are:

  • Wooden toys: Wood is a natural and renewable material that often has a lower environmental footprint than plastic.
  • Toys made from recycled materials: These types of toys help reduce waste and save resources.
  • Educational toy that teaches children about the environment: By making children aware of environmental issues, we can inspire them to make more sustainable choices for themselves.

All in all, reducing the ecological footprint of toys starts with ourselves. By consciously opting for more sustainable options and adjusting our behaviour, we can make a difference for the environment together.

The influence of toys on our nature

When we think of toys, we often think of fun and relaxation for children. But do we ever think about the impact of all those toys on our natural environment? It is important to pay attention to this, because the environment plays a major role in our lives and that of future generations. By consciously choosing sustainable and environmentally friendly toys, we can bring about positive change.

The environmental impact of toy production

The production of toys affects the environment in several ways:

  • Deforestation: Trees are often cut down for the production of wooden toys. This has consequences for biodiversity and the climate. Therefore, choose brands that use sustainable wood, for example with an FSC quality mark.
  • Plastic pollution: Many toys are made of plastic, which is a major burden on the environment. Opt for toys made of natural materials, such as wood, bamboo or bioplastic.
  • Chemicals: Harmful chemicals are sometimes used in the production of toys. This is not only bad for the environment, but also for the health of children. Choose toys that are free of toxins and safe for your child.

Tips for choosing environmentally friendly toys

  • Look at the materials: Choose toys made from sustainable, natural and recyclable materials.
  • Go for second-hand: By buying second-hand toys, you give existing toys a second life and reduce the demand for new production.
  • Choose quality: Cheap toys often break quickly and end up on the waste mountain. Instead, invest in good quality toys that will last for years.
  • Pay attention to quality marks: There are various quality marks that indicate whether toys are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Look for quality marks such as FSC, CE and the European Ecolabel.

What types of sustainable toys are there?

There are plenty of sustainable and eco-friendly toy options to choose from. Some examples are:

  • Wooden toys: Think of blocks, puzzles and train tracks. Wood is a natural and renewable material, and wooden toys often last a long time.
  • Bioplastic toys: These are a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastic toys. Bioplastic is made from vegetable raw materials and is often compostable.
  • Craft and creative material: Choose craft material made from recycled or natural materials, such as recycled paper, natural paint and clay without harmful substances.
  • Educational toys: Educational games and activities that make children aware of the environment and sustainability, such as building an insect hotel or planting a vegetable garden.

By consciously choosing sustainable and environmentally friendly toys, you contribute to a better future for our planet and for the generations that will come after us.

Sustainable toys: made of environmentally friendly materials

Did you know that many sustainable toys are made from residual wood? Residual wood is wood that remains after the production of other wooden products. By using this wood for toys, manufacturers prevent it from being thrown away as waste. For example, think of a beautiful wooden dollhouse or a colorful set of blocks. The use of residual wood not only reduces the ecological footprint of toys, but also ensures a long lifespan.

Fabric: soft and durable

Fabric dolls and cuddly toys are not only cuddly, but also an environmentally friendly choice. Many manufacturers opt for sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton or recycled textiles. These materials are gentler on your child's skin and better for the environment. In addition, fabric toys are often washable, which extends the lifespan.

Rubber: a natural alternative

Rubber is a natural material that comes from the rubber tree. It is a great alternative to plastic and is often used for teething toys, balls and bath toys. Rubber is not only durable, but also safe for your child as it contains no harmful chemicals.

Craft material: creative and environmentally friendly

Craft materials can also be sustainable. Think of clay based on natural ingredients, recycled paper or colored pencils made from sustainable wood. By choosing environmentally friendly craft materials, you not only stimulate your child's creativity, but you also contribute to a better environment.

Wooden kitchens: a sustainable play kitchen

A wooden kitchen is a popular toy for children. Instead of a plastic variant, you can opt for a sustainable wooden kitchen. These kitchens are often made from FSC-certified wood, which means that the wood comes from responsibly managed forests. This way you contribute to a smaller ecological footprint.

By choosing toys made from sustainable materials, such as residual wood, fabric, rubber, environmentally friendly craft materials and FSC-certified wood, you not only provide hours of fun for your child, but you also contribute to a better environment.

The influence of plastic toys on our planet

We all know that plastic is a big problem for the environment. But did you know that toys are one of the biggest culprits? Every year, a huge amount of plastic toys end up in our oceans and on our beaches. This not only has negative effects on animals and their living environment, but also on us as humans. Researchers have even found tiny pieces of plastic in the fish we eat!

The consequences for animals and nature

Animals are often the victims of our plastic addiction. They get entangled in plastic waste or eat it, which can lead to serious damage or even death. In addition, the production of plastic toys contributes to the depletion of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions.

What are companies and countries doing to address the problem?

Fortunately, more and more companies and countries are realizing that something needs to change. For example, there are efforts by the European Union to reduce the use of disposable plastic and there are campaigns to make people aware of the consequences of plastic pollution. There are also companies that opt ​​for more sustainable materials and production methods. However, there is still a long way to go and it is important that we do our part ourselves.

How can we make a difference ourselves?

There are several ways in which we can contribute to reducing the ecological footprint of toys:

  • Choose toys made from sustainable materials, such as wood or recycled plastic.
  • Buy fewer toys and give them a second life by donating them or passing them on to friends and family.
  • Look for quality marks that indicate that a product has been produced in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Participate in cleanups on the beach or in nature to clean up litter.

Take on the challenge together

It is clear that plastic toys have a major impact on our planet and there is still a lot of work to be done. Let's take up the challenge together and make more conscious choices when it comes to toys. In this way we not only ensure a better future for our children, but also for the animals and nature that are so dear to us.

The influence of harmful chemicals in toys

As parents, we naturally want the best for our children, and that also means paying attention to the materials their toys are made of. Many toys contain harmful chemicals that can pose a danger not only to our children's health, but also to the environment. For example, these substances can have hormonal effects on young children and have a negative impact on the environment if they are not broken down properly.

How do you choose safer toy alternatives?

Fortunately, there are ways to choose toys that contain less harmful chemicals:

  • Pay attention to quality marks: Choose toys with European quality marks, such as CE and EN71, which indicate that the toy meets strict safety standards.
  • Choose environmentally friendly materials: Go for toys made from natural and environmentally friendly materials, such as wood, bamboo, or vegetable plastics.
  • Avoid certain types of plastic: Choose toys made from safer plastics, such as polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE), instead of PVC, which often contain phthalates.
  • Read labels: Check the toy's packaging for information about the materials and chemicals used.

What else can we do?

In addition to choosing safer toys, we can also:

  • Sharing toys: By sharing toys with friends and family, we can reduce the carbon footprint of toys and save money.
  • Recycle: Ensure that old toys are recycled properly to minimize environmental impact.
  • Do your research: Keep up to date with the latest information about harmful chemicals in toys and share this knowledge with other parents.

By consciously choosing safer and more environmentally friendly toys, we can protect the health of our children as well as that of our planet.

Ecologically responsible toys: tips for making conscious choices

Did you know that you can make a big difference by choosing second-hand toys? In the Netherlands there are plenty of opportunities to find second-hand toys. For example, stroll around Marktplaats, visit thrift stores or trade toys with friends and family. By choosing recycled items, you significantly reduce the ecological footprint of the toy.

Check the attic and the shed

Sometimes you don't even have to look beyond your own home. There is a good chance that there are still toys in the attic or shed that have not been used for a while. Give these items a new life by taking them out and giving them to your child. This way you save on the purchase of new toys and you contribute to a better world.

Use the toy library

In many municipalities there is something like a toy library, where you can borrow toys. Take out a subscription to such a toy library and change toys regularly. This prevents you from bringing unnecessarily many toys into your home and encourages sustainable use.

Choose sustainably produced toys

If you still want to buy new toys, choose sustainably produced toys. Pay attention to quality marks and choose materials that are less harmful to the environment, such as wood or recycled plastic. Milieucentra has a handy list of quality marks that you can consult.

Get creative with gifts

Birthdays and holidays often bring a lot of new toys into the house. Try giving something different, such as a day out, a trial lesson for a fun activity or homemade toys. This not only makes your child happy, but also contributes to a smaller ecological footprint.

Teach your child to be aware of toys

In addition to choosing sustainable toys, it is also important to make your child aware of the importance of sustainability. Teach them to take care of their belongings and explain why it is important to consider the environment. In this way you contribute to a better future for your child and the world around them.

By keeping these tips in mind, you as a parent can make a positive change and contribute to a smaller environmental footprint of toys. It's a small effort, but it can make a big difference to our planet.

Recyclable toys: an environmentally friendly choice

As a parent you naturally want the best for your child, and that also means ensuring a healthy and safe environment in which to grow up. One way to contribute to this is by choosing recyclable toys. These types of toys are designed to be easily recycled after use, making them less harmful to the environment. In addition, there are often other benefits associated with it, such as a focus on safety and sustainability.

What makes toys recyclable?

Recyclable toys are made from materials that can be reprocessed into new products after use. This means that less waste enters the market and fewer raw materials are needed for the production of new toys. Many recyclable toys are made of plastic, but there are also types made of other materials, such as wood or bamboo.

Recyclable toys and your child's development

In addition to the environmentally friendly aspects of recyclable toys, there are also benefits for your child's development. Many recyclable toys are designed with a focus on simplicity and creativity, which can help stimulate your child's imagination and problem-solving skills. In addition, choosing sustainable and recyclable toys can be a great time to teach your child about the importance of caring for the environment and making responsible choices.

So, if you're looking for toys that are both fun and eco-friendly, consider buying recyclable toys. It's a great way to entertain your child while making a positive impact on our planet.


If you follow these tips, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your toys. Choose sustainable materials, recycle the toys when they are no longer used, and choose fewer toys.

It is important to know the ecological footprint of your toys so that you can deal with them consciously.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.