People are talking about toy plastic, and this is good.
But what we need to be talking about and aren't yet is toy miles. >80% of toys come from the Far East. There are two problems with this. Firstly, manufacturing in developing countries tends to be more polluting to the environment, and higher-risk to our children. In 2011 Greenpeace found toxic metals like lead in 32% of Chinese-made toys. Secondly, shipping from so far away emits lots more carbon.
Checking where toys are made, and how far those places are from here, is eye-opening. Let's take some brands whose toys look and feel eco-friendly:
- Melissa and Doug is made in China;
- Le Toy Van in Indonesia;
- Plan Toys in Thailand;
- Lanka Kade and Irish company Alphabet Jigsaws in Sri Lanka;
- Djeco in Taiwan;
- and the innovative, post-consumer-recycled-plastic Green Toys in California.
Each of these places is about 10,000km away.
In contrast, the UK is 500km, France/Germany/Spain 1,000km, and Eastern Europe 1,500km. In other words, European-made toys have about one-tenth the toy-miles.
This is why we want all our toys *made* (not just designed) in Europe as well as plastic-free.