Have you ever worried that your kid’s toys are destroying the planet? Here are some ways to have fun without hurting the environment.
1.Buy air and not helium balloons.
We know balloons are lots of fun. But did you know that any balloon that ends up flying off into the sky can cause serious damage to the environment? If swallowed, balloons can block an animal’s gut and cause it to starve. Dolphins, whales, turtles, seabirds and other animals have all been killed by balloons. Turtles are particularly at risk, as they seem to confuse balloons with jellyfish which are their natural prey.
Birds are also in danger from helium balloons, as they get tangled in pieces of balloon string. Use air balloons rather than helium, and always make sure you throw them into the bin once you’re done with them. Make a game out of balloon popping!
2. Seek out toys made of wood.
Plastic toys contain oil-based petrochemicals that won’t biodegrade in landfill. They do, however, biodegrade in seawater, releasing poisonous toxins that end up in guts of marine animals and wash up on our beaches.
Wood toys last longer and can be handed down through generations. Because they’re so durable, you can also buy them cheaply from second-hand. It is almost impossible to avoid plastic toys completely, so make sure that if you do buy them, choose quality plastic that will last for years so that you don’t have to throw them out immediately (ie. lego blocks, which are basically indestructible). Alternately, make sure you buy toys made of biodegradable plastics.
3. Use rechargeable batteries for your children’s toys.
Remember all batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which contaminate the environment and kill wildlife. Just to give you an idea of how awful these toxins are: the reason pregnant women are not supposed to eat tuna frequently is because of the dangers of mercury poisoning to herself and her unborn child. You may wonder why tuna or any marine wildlife (mercury poisoning in Japan is mostly due to eating whale meat) may contain so much mercury- the answer is, because humans continue dumping toxic waste into the sea.
By using rechargeable batteries, you avoid disposing toxins into the environment every time the toy runs out of charge. If you have to use disposable batteries, make sure you do dispose of them properly: most supermarkets have a box where you can drop them off.
For more tips on how to bring up a happy and healthy child without destroying the environment, check out Kate Blincoe’s fantastic No-Nonsense Guide to Green Parenting
All images used in this article come from Pixabay.