Monique Tait

Monique Tait

Jul 27, 2024. 5 mins read


5 Shocking Facts About Toy Waste and How Parents Can Combat It

Hands up, how many of you purchase far more toys than your kiddos actually need

With precious children who deserve the world, we’re all guilty of overconsumption when it comes to spoiling our favourite littles even when most of us have heard that less is more. But if your home, wallet and sanity are taking a hit from the excessive amount of toys around, you’ll be shocked to hear just how badly they affect the environment too.


And before you think, “Wonderful – another article shaming parents when we’re just doing our best.” Think again! Inspired by our own overconsumption patterns and bad habits, we’ve got practical tips and tricks you can use to declutter, save the planet and spoil your kids at the same time. 

Keep reading on to find out more about 5 shocking facts about toy waste and what parents can do to combat it.

1. The toy industry is one of the most plastic-intensive industries in the world

Toys are big business. As a $90 billion industry, there’s a reason why these companies target parents tricking them into believing they need more, more, more.

With over 40 tons of plastic being used for every $1 million in revenues, toys are one of the most plastic-intensive industries around the globe. In fact, it’s estimated that over 90% of toys available are made from plastic.

And we all know how terrible plastic is both for our health and the environment.

But toys are fun and our kiddos can’t stay away from the plastic! We hear you. We’ve been there. While suggesting giving up the bright-coloured plastic toys for good isn’t realistic or practical for most families out there, there are ways to keep your consumption down with toy swapping events, toy exchanges and recycling.

2. Plastic toys are made from 40% hormone-disrupting material

Hormonal imbalances can affect our skin, libido, sleep, fertility, mood and more. And if you’ve found that your hormones are all over the place, those pesky plastic boys could be to blame.

Soft plastic toys may contain over 40% phthalates by weight. And if you didn’t know, phthalates have been linked to a number of serious issues such as reduced fertility, birth defects, testicular damage and miscarriage. That’s not okay!

3. Approximately 27 million toys end up in landfills each year - in Australia alone!

It’s all too easy to operate on an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. And as busy parents, we’ve got enough on our plates as is. But if you saw what 27 million toys looked like in landfills, chances are you’d think again about your consumption patterns.

But it doesn’t need to be like this! From toy swapping to toy sharing to leaving the toys out in a box for free for neighbours to collect, there are countless ways to get rid of the clutter without hitting up the dump.

4. 28% of parents admit to discarding fully functioning toys

The house is a mess. The overflow of toys is driving you crazy. And the bin is right there. Sometimes you just need to get rid of things quickly and efficiently to keep your house looking somewhat okay. But with 28% of parents admitting to discarding fully functioning toys, we’ve got to be part of the change we wish to see in the world.

And while we empathise with the feeling of wanting to quickly declutter, there are easier ways to get rid of toys you don’t want anymore. You can even arrange it all on your mobile phone!

With our toy swapping app, you can exchange toys with locals in your area without stepping foot outside the house. Not only does this benefit other families, but it keeps the landfills free from excess waste.

5. Most children have approximately four toys they’ve never even used

We’ve all gotten excited about gifting our littles with a new toy only to find out they have no interest in it whatsoever. Parenthood, eh! While your kiddo may eventually come around to playing with the toy, if you’ve noticed that they’ve displayed little to no interest in it over a sustained period of time, it’s best to look into recycling options. Especially considering that most children have up to four toys they haven’t and won’t use.

Whether you exchange it at a toy swap meet or donate it to your local toy library, there’s no reason to keep unwanted toys your child doesn’t want to play with.

How can parents combat toy waste?

In a perfect world, we’d live minimalist lives with cherub children who only play with wooden toys. But the reality is that most kiddos prefer bright coloured plastic and we as parents can’t help but spoil our children with new and engaging gadgets to keep them happy and entertained.

And that’s okay!

Life’s hard enough as is trying to navigate parenthood. That’s why we’ve put together easy and practical tips to reduce toy waste, clean up your home and benefit the environment at the same time.

1. Attend a toy swap meet

If you haven’t been to a toy swap meet, you’re seriously missing out! Helping you swap toys with like-minded families, this is one of the easiest ways of getting rid of old toys while coming home with new ones. It’s a win-win for everyone!

2. Check out your local toy library

Instead of hitting up the toy store every weekend, check out your local toy library for new toys. Once your kiddos have had their fun with their new toys, simply return them. It’s that easy!

3. Use our toy swapping app 

Instead of throwing your toys away, check out our toy swapping app for local families in need of toys. One parent’s trash is another’s treasure!

4. Consider donating 

There are countless places in need of children's toys. Keep an eye out for places in need of donations to pay it forward.

If you’re anything like us, then the above toy stats just don’t sit right with you. But the good news is that there are alternatives available to reduce toy waste while preserving your time, home and sanity. No, you don’t have to tell grandma to stop sending plastic toys (she’d never listen anyway). From using our toy swapping app to donating unwanted toys to a shelter, there are plenty of ways to acquire and discard toys without harming the planet.

Monique Tait

Monique Tait

Mothering . Wife . Founder . Chicken Wing Aficionado .

When she's not scouring the city for the best fried chicken joint, she's busy being a parenting superhero, starting with her new toy swapping app called Sassybae. Because let's be real, what better way to show your love for your kids than by swapping out their old toys for new ones? Monique is on a mission to make parenting easier, one wing and one toy at a time.

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