How to Recycle Toys

As a parent, you probably know how fast your kids can break their toys. After a toy gets damaged, or when a new toy fever hits the market, your kids want the latest and coolest toys. Considering that Americans buy more than $18 billion worth of toys annually, this causes a lot of problems. As kids age and their interests shift a lot of unused, broken and obsolete toys are left behind. This fast turnover can make avoiding the garbage bin particularly challenging, even for the most environmentally conscious parents. But apart from putting the old and broken items out on the curb, what other recycling and donation options exist for toys and toy waste? Here are some ways to go about it:-


  • Working Toys – Donating functional toys for reuse should always be your primary option. Apart from shelters and child care centers, the most obvious and accessible donation options are thrift stores like Goodwill. These will accept clean and functional toys that can be resold. The well-known Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is another excellent choice for donating any unopened or lightly used toys to families that can’t afford to buy them. Another good option is Second Chance Toys, a non-profit that accepts toys at drop-off locations during Earth Week in April and the holiday season.

  • Broken Toys – Broken toys can be especially challenging to dispose of sustainably, as thrift stores and benefaction programs won’t accept them. This can be disturbing when you consider that kids break more than half the toys gifted to them during the holiday season by the end of spring alone. To make matters worse, approximately 90% of toys on the market are made out of plastic. Until recently, recycling options for broken and unusable toys have been difficult to come by. While state-operated e-waste recycling initiatives can recycle many broken electronic toys, opportunities for other broken toys can be insufficient. However, there are some ways to avoid the landfill. For example, the company TerraCycle recently partnered with Tom’s of Maine for Earth Month to help families around the country recycle their old and broken toys that can’t be donated. During the program, five hundred boxes of broken toys will be diverted from landfills and recycled into plastic products like park benches.

Children can go through their toys quickly, making the trash bin a tempting way to remove all the clutter. Being sure you are responsibly discarding those old, and broken toys can be a great way to reduce your family’s environmental footprint further. You can find out more about recycling plastic toys on

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