There are a few lucky families out there who were living naturally before kids and therefore did not have to deal with having plastic toys. However, most of us started avoiding plastic after having kids and thus we are faced with the decision of what to do with all these plastic toys that our kids currently have.
I made the decision to not allow plastic toys in our house, four years ago. We told family members of our decision and they have respected our wishes. However, I was left with plastic toys that we had from previous years and I didn’t want to keep that plastic around. I had to find a way to get it out of our house, without my children throwing major fits.
I thankfully have very accepting children and they seem to be ok with my approach to things but since all kids are different, I’m going to share a few different ways that might help you remove plastic toys from your home.
Note: This applies to old toys as well. This does not have to be just about plastic toys.
Methods for Getting Rid of Plastic Toys
Explain Why and Just do it – This is the method I take with my kids. I explained why we didn’t want to play with plastic toys anymore (BPA, phthalates, not eco-friendly, etc) and we gathered all the plastic toys and took them away. My kids helped during this process and so they got to be involved instead of just having the toys vanish magically.
Pay to Take it Away – This method usually helps older kids accept the transition to no plastics. Tell you child that you no longer want plastic toys but you want to pay them for their loss. How much you pay is up to you and what you think your child will go for. Another alternative is to just buy one new natural toy as the replacement for the plastic ones.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind – This method is usually a slower process and one that I use when we get a toy that wasn’t approved of. I take the toy or toys that I want out of the house and I hide them. I hide them for a week or two. Generally, nobody notices the missing toys and so there’s no tantrum. If there is a fuss, you can explain why it’s leaving the house or you can give in and let them play with the toy for another week or so and start all over again. The idea being that eventually, they will not notice that they toy is gone and you can just get rid of it without them knowing.
Making Room for the New – If it’s around a birthday or Christmas, you can use that to your advantage. Tell your child that they just have too many toys and there’s not enough room for anything new. Explain that in order to have enough room for any new toys, you’ll have to get rid of some of the old ones.
What to do with all those plastic toys?
Donate them to charity – This really brings home the idea that your child has more toys than they need and that there are lots of children who would love to just have one toy.
Take them to a consignment store – This is what my family does. We take the plastic toys, old toys, etc to the consignment store and I get store credit in return. This credit is then used for new natural toys or clothes.
Garage Sale – It’s best if you box up all those toys so they are out of sight and mind until the sale. You can even incorporate the garage sale into the Pay to Take it Away method; letting your child keep the money earned from the toys.
Sell them online – If the toys are still in nice condition then try selling them online through ebay or craigslist.