The plastic in toys is usually obvious! (Sadly 90% of toys are virgin plastic) *But* you mightn't have realised there's hidden plastic in most of the following (but not ours!):
- Crayons. Most are made from paraffin wax (e.g., Crayola) or polyethylene wax (most fancy-shaped crayons). Both are from petroleum. Alternatives: beeswax, soy wax;
- Washi tape. These pretty tapes are paper but we can't find a brand without acrylic resin in the adhesive. Meaning it's actually neither plastic-free nor biodegradable;
- Glue. PVA = polyvinyl acetate (plastic). PVA glue is PVA particles suspended in water. Alternatives: starch-based glues;
- Craft felt. Unless otherwise stated, usually from virgin plastic - acrylic or polyester. Alternatives: recycled-plastic (e.g., eco-fi) or sheepswool;
- Glitter. 'Regular' craft glitter is polyester (plastic). Alternatives: bioglitter or natural materials like flower petals, rice, sugar;
- Packaging...on the toy itself...but also the packaging in the supply-chain. Sadly, bubblewrap / SealedAir are still the norm for transporting toys from factory to shop. Toyshops we speak with hate how much single-use plastic they end-up with. Alternatives: cardboard, paper, plant-based packing peanuts, NatureFlex.
We've found plastic-free substitutes for so many toy plastics - including 5 of the 6 hidden ones above. We still have a short list we're working on though...love to hear your ideas!
- Colouring markers. We just don't stock any (we just offer plastic-free pencils, crayons, paint, and paint-pencils);
- Washi tape (see above) - so we don't stock;
- Small, complex components of otherwise plastic-free toys we do stock: Nylon bristles in vegan paintbrushes; lids-with-brushes on biodegradable nail polishes; electric lamps and velcro in shadow theatres; magnetic strips on magnetic wooden puzzles; and the carefully-shaped holders for our watercolour paint tablets;
Read our "Plastic-Free How" post for how we've gotten to 93% totally plastic-free (7% nearly-plastic-free) in our toyshop.