Recycling and Reusing Children's Toys

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Close up of the kid's bedroom decor in the 2010 HGTV Dream Home in New Mexico with a toy story theme.

Like children's clothing, toys are outgrown early and often. Shoddy construction and easy-to-lose pieces cause toys to lose play value quickly; inadequate storage options mean toys are easily damaged or scattered. Result: the household boasts a wealth of toys but nothing fit to play with.

Go green in the playroom with these strategies to reduce, reuse and recycle children's toys:

  • Buy good once. Sure, it's fun to dream about buying out the toy store and - take it from a Nana who knows - nearly impossible to restrain doting grandparents with the same idea, but sustainability starts when shopping. Take a pass on the latest plastic fad items in favor of well-made classic toys. They'll stand the test of time and the toy box.
  • Store smart. Most playthings lack viable storage off the shelf, so provide a proper home for toys and games to protect their play value. Lidded plastic storage containers keep game parts together, garage small cars and serve as closets for dolls and their clothing.
  • Seek to share. Good-quality toys are often outgrown before they're outworn; one family's old toys will be another family's treasure. Share the wealth by shopping yard sales for children's toys; allow children to sell items at a yearly garage sale. Community toy libraries allow children to check out toys, and families to donate unneeded playthings. At year's end, contributing to holiday toy drives helps pare down children's possessions before the Christmas season.
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