A toy that is passed down from sibling to sibling or generation to generation does not end up in a landfill or the ocean. It stays in the home. It’s a legacy.
The toy industry is in a tough spot. We are an industry whose material of choice is plastic. Plastic is a petroleum-based product that has a way of lasting for hundreds of years without degrading and ending up in the world’s oceans and the bellies of its creatures. A case in point is this disturbing headline from a National Geographic article, ” This young whale died with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach.”
Children and young parents are highly aware and concerned about the infiltration of plastics into the world’s oceans. McDonald’s has taken action by producing Happy Meal toys made out of paper. Burger King decided to do away with kids’ meal toys altogether. Hasbro and Mattel have gotten involved by cutting back on the use of plastic in packaging.
That is all well and good. The coming challenge is not going to be over-packaging but about plastic toys themselves. What do we use instead of plastic, a wonderfully colorful and malleable material?
Instead of thinking about alternatives to plastic, perhaps we should consider moving towards more durable plastic toys that are designed to last for generations. After all, a toy that is passed down from sibling to sibling or generation to generation does not end up in a landfill or the ocean. It stays in the home.
I like to call these types of toys Legacy Toys. Legacy Toys being the opposite of Landfill Toys, thrown in the trash within days or weeks.
Legacy Toys are popular in Central Europe (France and Germany), where a toy purchase is considered an investment buy rather than an impulse purchase. Legacy Toys typically sell for higher prices because toy companies build them to last.
We in the toy industry and the global environment will be well served by elevating the choice of a toy from a low price whim to a higher priced investment. Good for business, good for the environment and good for families.