Plastic is lightweight, flexible, colourful, but also economical and fast to produce. That is the main reason why there are so many plastic products. That is also the reason why there's so much plastic waste.
Much is known about plastic packaging waste, but little about hard plastics.
An UNEP report from 2014 caught our attention, it said: “the toy industry belong to the group that uses plastic most intensively in products” (Source: UNEP Valuing plastics)
As we know plastic packaging creates a lot of waste. But when we buy a bottle of water, the weight of the plastic is only about 2% of its total weight. Plastic toys are for 100% made out of plastic.
For instance a toy kitchen contains 5.6 kg of valuable plastic, which equals its total weight. You need to collect about 400 empty plastic bottles to reach this amount.
Or 150 bottles to equal a pushbike.
Recycling plastic packaging is very good, but recycling plastic toys seems to be an absolute necessity.
Short life-time products
Children grow fast and their abilities and interests shift even faster, especially in their first years of life. This is why toys are often thrown away after a short time.
Top 5 toys at home are mainly made in plastic (PE or PP)
At the beginning of 2017, we performed a survey amoun parents of toddlers in Belgium. It confirmed the hypothesis that 90% of the popular toys are made in plastic. Most frequent plastic materials in toys are Polyethylene and Polypropylene. Most of the parents answered that they did not know what to do with the plastic toys at the end of their product life. As toys are a mixture of different materials they are mostly considered as general waste. Not every container site recycles hard plastics, so they are deposited for landfill or waste incineration.