Sustainable Toys: Shaping Play, Preserving the Planet

Sustainable Toys: Introduction

Step into a world of conscious choices with sustainable toys – this week’s feature spotlights the magic of eco-friendly playtime. In a realm where family decisions shape the future, let’s embark on a journey exploring the influence of opting for sustainable toys.

Every family choice contributes to a brighter tomorrow. Furthermore, by embracing sustainable toys, we’re crafting a legacy of mindful play. These small yet significant steps weave together, sending out a resonating message of purposeful living.

Ever wondered how our individual actions collectively paint a picture of a greener planet? It begins with a single choice. With that in mind, let’s all cultivate a movement that inspires friends, transforms families, and nurtures a more sustainable way of life.

Reduce Repair Regive

Sustainable Toys: History

In ancient times, children revelled in toys made from nature’s resources – wooden dolls, carved animals, and simple games. The ancient Egyptians crafted wooden animals and dolls with moveable limbs. As well as that, ancient Greek children cherished dolls and clay animals, while Roman kids enjoyed mini chariots and action figures.

Moving through history, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures brought intricate puzzles, spinning tops, and yo-yos. Also, in South America, the indigenous peoples used corn husks to create dolls. Fast forward to medieval Europe embraced toys like dolls and wooden horses. The Renaissance introduced more refined playthings, reflecting societal shifts.

The Industrial Revolution ignited a revolution in toy-making, with mass production making toys accessible. Subsequently, the 19th century witnessed the birth of iconic classics like teddy bears and toy soldiers. Did you know that the Teddy bear was created after US President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt refused to shoot a young bear that had been captured for him?

Sustainable Toys The first teddy bear was made in 1902
The first teddy bear was made in 1902

Each era reveals how toys mirrored cultural values and technological advancements. From simple playthings of ancient civilizations to the diverse creations of today, toys remain essential to childhood joy and development.

With that in mind, are you curious about the impact of toys on the environment? Our next paragraphs uncover their ecological footprint and how we can make more sustainable choices. Read on to find out the environmental impact of toys, shaping the future of play.

Sustainable Toys: Environmental Impact

The world of non-sustainable toys echoes environmental concerns that are all too familiar. Among these concerns, plastic takes centre stage. Believe it or not, the toy industry is the most plastic-intensive industry in the world according to UNEP.

Beneath the surface, the creation and distribution of non-sustainable toys amplify their carbon footprint. Astonishingly, the toy industry emits tens of millions of tons of CO2 annually, significantly impacting our climate. Furthermore, toys also often contain phthalates, which are linked to negative health impacts and can cause ‘serious risks’ to the users.

But there’s more to the story. These toys have a short lifespan, generating rapid waste. Worse still, disposal introduces another layer of concern, as discarded toys release toxic chemicals into the environment. And let’s not forget the mountain of packaging waste. Discarded toy packaging accounts for about 9% of the world’s plastic waste, with minimal recycling.

Sustainable Toys Broken toys are generally none recyclable and contribute to the plastic issue
Broken toys are generally none recyclable and contribute to the plastic issue

Ready to change the narrative? If you are, then dive into the world of sustainable toy alternatives, which counteract these negative impacts. Explore eco-friendly materials, durable designs, and ethical production, transforming playtime into a beacon of environmental responsibility.

Sustainable Toys: What to Look For

When it comes to sustainable toys, your choices can make a big difference. Seek out toys crafted from eco-friendly materials, reducing your environmental impact while ensuring safe play. With that in mind, avoid phthalates, lead and bisphenol A (BPA).

Durability is key – opt for toys built to last, minimising replacements and conserving valuable resources in the process. Also, packaging matters – prioritise minimal packaging to curb waste and contribute positively to our planet. 

Don’t forget the charm of preowned toys; they not only come with stories but also extend the life of playthings, embodying a sustainable mindset. As well as that, and to magnify your impact, consider supporting local artisans and businesses, reducing transportation emissions while encouraging sustainability. 

And let’s not overlook wooden toys, cherished for their durability and renewable sourcing, epitomising responsible play. Finally, have you thought about making your own toys?

Sustainable Toys made from FSC or repurposed wood are far more sustainable
Toys made from FSC or repurposed wood are far more sustainable

Lego enthusiasts take note: Lego is committed to sustainable materials, aligning with your eco-conscious choices, and contributing to a greener world. Ready to take action? Check out the recommendations for our three favourite sustainable toy brands and discover how your choices can shape a brighter future for playtime.

Sustainable Toys: Three of Our Favourites

Le Toy Van

Our first brand is Le Toy Van, a father-and-son company founded 25 years ago with the intention of creating unique toys that would stand the test of time. Subsequently, they sell classic toys all over the globe, mindfully designed in the UK. 

We love their Stacking Veggies – The little carrot, radish and beetroot are light, cute, sustainably made and sturdy. Not only that, but even the paint used is super safe and sustainable. A nice simple stacking and sorting toy for a toddler.

Sustainable Toys -Le Toy Van sustainably made Stacking Veggies
Le Toy Van sustainably made Stacking Veggies

Apples to Pears

Our first brand is Apples to Pears, a UK-based children’s toy creator, is a beacon of imaginative and eco-conscious play. With a commitment to sustainability, they craft toys from renewable materials, reducing their environmental footprint. We love their Build a Bee Hotel Gift in a Tin. 

It’s a beautifully presented little kit and turns into something truly useful for the eco-system: providing a home for nature’s pollinators. Because of that, it’s a fun play and learning all around and not just for the kids. You can currently buy the kit at the Cancer Research Shop and have an even more positive impact!

Sustainable Toys - Apples to Pears Gift in a Tin Bee Hotel
Apples to Pears Gift in a Tin Build your own Bee Hotel


Founded by two mums in the UK, Micro was set up to provide their kids with a way to get to school whilst burning off excess energy. The kids’ teachers noticed better concentration and energy levels after the kids ‘scooted’ to school. Consequently, not only was their travel more sustainable it was better all around.

Now a fully-fledged B Corp, the company adheres to its strong values of sustainability, family and quality. We love their Mini Micro Eco Scooter with its ocean plastic deck and well-made replaceable parts.

Best of all if you sign up for their newsletter, you will receive 10% off your first order!

Sustainably Toys - Micro's Mini Micro Eco Scooter
Micro's Mini Micro Eco Scooter

Sustainable Toys: That’s a Wrap

In the world of play, Le Toy Van, Apples to Pears, and Micro shine as beacons of sustainability. Their eco-friendly toys ignite creativity while preserving our planet. As you embark on this green journey, remember: individual actions, when amplified by a united community, create waves of positive change. We hope this article has inspired you to be part of the collective effort for a brighter, greener future.



Play It Green receives no financial incentive to promote our favourite sustainable brands. We do it because we like them and it’s the right thing to do!

Sign Up to Learn, Plant, Regive and Create Change

Join Play It Green and be the solution to climate change
Back to articles
Share this

Find Out More

Discover how your business can thrive sustainably

By submitting you agree to the privacy policy


Follow Us


Follow Us