3 Disadvantages of plastic toys
Updated: Feb 28
We all know it is better to avoid plastic. Especially around your little loved ones. But why is it better? Here you can read 3 reasons why it is better to completely avoid plastic toys for your kids.
Plastic is made from natural, organic materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, and crude oil. The production of plastics begins with the distillation of crude oil in an oil refinery. This separates the heavy crude oil into groups of lighter components, called fractions. One of these fractions, naphtha, is the crucial compound for the production of plastics.
Next to the natural recourses required from the product itself, other natural resources are used to make this process happen. A lot of energy is required for the entire process. From extraction of the oil to fractioning, to creating the end product, to the burning in incinerators once the toy is tossed out all require lots of energy and emit very large amounts of CO2.
Plastic is not a natural product and it has undergone extensive treatment to become the plastic that is used in toys. Even though most plastics in everyday life are safe, there are some toxins that might be present in plastic toys you need to look out for.
Bisphenol-A: Also known as BPA which is an endocrine disruptor related to obesity, breast cancer and sometimes even depression.
Polyvinyl chloride: PVC is toxic for children as it is carcinogenic and often not found in toys but it is better to completely remove any PVC products from your life. This is not only better for your health but also for the environment. Plasticizers: For example, adipates and phthalates are used to make brittle plastics more manageable for the production of toys. This results in a toxicity risk because these plasticizers can leak out of the product.
Fire retardants: These are found in most plastic toys and are know to disrupts hormonal systems. A few examples of fire retardants are Polybrominated diethyl ethers (PBDEs), polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and brominated-ethanes (DBDPE & BTBPE). These can be found in hard plastic toys, rubber toys, and even stuffed toys.
If plastic is unavoidable, make sure you purchase it from a reliable store/brand. Toys manufactured and purchased directly from China (Aliexpress, Wish) don’t have the strict regulations for toxins as in the EU or US.
Compared to wooden toys, plastic toys often have inferior quality. Wooden toys are made to lasts (my kid currently plays with a cart with wooden blocks her grandparents used to play with) while plastic toys are designed to last a few years (of course there are exceptions). This makes plastic toys much less durable. They are more brittle, small pieces might break off which might harm your child.
I hope this list with reasons to avoid plastic toys helps you better understand why wooden toys are more favorable and choose more wisely with your next toy purchase. Do you want even more sustainable toys? Go check out your local thrift shop and see if there are any pre-loved toys that your kids might like.