Ethical + Sustainable Toys: A Cheatsheet

Ethical + Sustainable Toys: A Cheatsheet

More families are choosing to shop ethical. Purchasing otherwise perpetuates an industry that exploits workers, which unfortunately includes children. This means they are not paid a wage they need to thrive and are made to work in conditions that are unsafe.

Toys manufactured in such environments are often not bound by the stringent safety guidelines toys manufactured in Australia are. They could contain elements such as phthalates, lead and toxic paints or glues.

Here are some simple ways to support ethically made and/or reduce your consumer footprint:

Buy Secondhand

Consider a toy swap between friends or joining your local toy library. I have seen wonderful toys in second hand stores and on sites such as Gumtree. There is an increasing amount of Facebook groups where you can buy and sell toys that meet your specific values, such as toys aligned with Steiner or Montessori philosophies.

Buy Local

Support local artisans, makers and stores. This supports your local economy, ensures the people behind the purchase have been paid a fair wage and reduces the environmental impact an international purchase has in terms of carbon emissions from shipping.

Buy Ethically Made

Purchasing ethically made items means the makers are paid a wage that allows them to thrive, not only survive. Many of these international fair labour initiatives are established in areas where there would otherwise not be equal employment opportunities, especially for women. Some businesses and manufacturers may have accreditation with Fairtrade Australia.

Look for Sustainability

Wooden toys should always be made from sustainable timber or they otherwise risk contributing to devastating deforestation which is occurring both here in Australia and Internationally. Makers should be using timber with Forest Stewardship Council Certification (FSC) which evidences that the timber was sources from sustainable forestry practices. 

Purchasing toys made from quality products ensures the longevity of the toy and reduces potential contributions to landfill. Materials such as wool and cotton are 100% biodegradable, meaning that once such toys do come to the end of their lifespan, they can return to the Earth.

If you are ever unsure of how a product was manufactured, I encourage you to approach the business and ask. In doing so you are also taking consumer action that puts more pressure on businesses to ensure they are meeting their ethical and sustainable obligations.

The financial outlay of purchasing ethical or sustainable is not comparable to cost that products made irresponsibly have on both people and our environment. 

In our store you can shop with confidence, knowing that every piece has been ethically made. We source a range of wooden and natural toys crafted from sustainable materials and support other small businesses buy stocking products made from local Australian and New Zealand artisans too.

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