Monique Tait

Monique Tait

Jun 5, 2023. 4 mins read


The Environmental Impact of Toys: Why Toy Swapping is More Important Than Ever

When your kids are playing with their latest Peppa Pig playset, the last thing they’re thinking about is the environmental impact of plastic toys. But according to the BBC and a study published in the journal Science, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic will cover our planet by 2040 – unless something changes. That’s less than 20 years away! No wonder the theme of this year’s World Environment Day on June 5th is to Beat Plastic Pollution.


The toy industry is one of many markets that broadens our carbon footprint, adding more and more plastic to our planet’s landfills. Limiting the production of new toys by participating in toy swapping, recycling, and similar practices is more important than ever. And with companies like Sassybae, it’s easy to reduce waste, strive for sustainability, and promote lasting change.

The Environmental Impact of Plastic Toys

When considering how toys affect the environment, it goes far beyond the toy ending up in a landfill. The environmental impact of plastic toys comes from the manufacturing process, packaging, transportation, and more.

By 2030, it’s estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic toy industry could outpace those of coal. Many plastics also end up in our waterways, leaching into the water system and ending up in our food and drinks. By 2040, the amount of plastic going into the ocean is destined to triple if nothing changes.

The more toys consumers buy, the more goods manufacturers produce to meet demands. Therefore, more toys mean more plastic, more petrol for transporting goods, and higher energy consumption. Don’t forget the extra materials and, yep, more plastic for the packaging.

Electronic toys add the extra issue of increased batteries ending up in the trash as they wear out and get replaced. It’s easy to see how a seemingly simple plastic toy actually produces a snowball effect of environmental sabotage. 

Why Toy Swapping Is More Important Than Ever

When your kids were babies and approaching their toddler years, it was easier to control their toy assortment. You could opt for wooden blocks, puzzles, books, and similar non-plastic toys with little pushback from your child. However, as kids approach kindergarten and primary school, they start to turn into mini-consumers.

Children are all too aware of the marketing out there that pushes the latest and greatest plastic toy. And we get it. It’s hard to deny those sweet faces when they’re begging for a new LEGO set for their birthday. So what’s a befuddled and well-intended parent to do? (Besides reaching for the nearest bag of chips).

Toy swapping is an excellent way to give your kids new-to-them toys without adding to the toy industry’s growing carbon footprint. Reusing toys reduces the need for manufacturing new ones, leading to less consumption and less waste.

In addition, choosing to go the secondhand route comes with other benefits. Embracing the used life benefits your kids, the planet, and your family. Toy swapping is a fantastic tool for teaching kids about environmental responsibility, budgeting, and appreciating their belongings. It’s also easier on your wallet.

How to Get Involved in Toy Swapping

There are all sorts of ways to participate in toy swapping. Apps make it easier than ever to trade with other like-minded parents. For example, Sassybae works similarly to Tinder (minus the small talk and awkwardness). You swipe, match, and swap for free.

If you simply want to recycle your kid’s old toys by passing them along to someone who can use them, there’s also a donation option. To start making a difference, join the Sassybae waitlist so you don’t miss a beat.

Another way to give your kids the experience of different toys without buying new ones is to utilise toy libraries. Toy libraries typically charge an annual fee, usually around $100 per year, and are open on limited days. However, they offer an excellent option for cutting back on waste and energy consumption in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, they help reduce the toy industry’s harmful environmental impact.

It’s also possible to be a source of change in your community. Set up a local toy swap in your neighbourhood. Arrange for neighbours to meet and bring gently-used toys to swap with others. Set up a cleaning and sanitising station to promote safety. Community-building efforts like this help show others how to make a difference and encourage them to consider the used life.

Want to Save the Planet? Be a Toy-Swapping Superhero

There’s no denying that plastic is choking our planet. Within 10 to 20 years, more plastic than ever before will fill our oceans and cover our land if we don’t make a change now. The good news is change starts right at home.

Often, people think the only way to affect change is by doing something big. But the truth is, you can create a ripple that leads to massive change with a simple shift in how you think about your kid’s playthings. 

Start toy swapping with Sassybae for free, and show others how easy it is to combat the environmental impact of plastic toys. By spreading the word, you help others create lasting and sustainable efforts to improve the environment, their communities, and life within their own four walls.

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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