Friday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. Recycling is year round, but this time of the year I usually focus on recycling items that our garbage hauler won’t collect. I store these items in the garage until I’m ready, and then I take the items to the appropriate place for recycling. I mentioned in another blog post that you can recycle your batteries and fluorescent bulbs at Home Depot, but there are several places that offer free recycling:
- Best Buy – electronics like TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, audio and video cables, cell phones, etc
- Target – aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers, plastic bags, MP3 players, cell phones and ink cartridges
- Walmart – Samsung, Durabrand and Ilo consumer electronics (other brands are recyclable for a fee)
- Ikea – paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, compact fluorescent light bulbs
- Lowe’s – rechargeable batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), cell phones and plastic shopping bags
- Home Depot – batteries and fluorescent bulbs
- Goodwill – computers, computer accessories and some electronics items
- Salvation Army – plastics (old wastebaskets, broken Rubbermaid products, large children’s toys), broken jewelry pieces (including the backs of earrings), stuffed animals, cardboard, metal, cell phones, old computers and computer monitors, purses, clothing, shoes, and books
Recycling is important, but most of us don’t think about recycling until after we have made a purchase. Not all products are packaged the same way. Some products are more environmentally friendly compared to other products. For instance, B. toys (Facebook | Twitter) feature paper packaging and booklets that are made out of 100% recycled paper. All their inks are soy-based and varnishes are water-based. In addition, the company also packages some of their toys in a reversible container that converts into a cute present box. Some of their toys also don’t any have any packaging. Instead, they are sold in recycled polypropylene (PP) bags that can be reused again and again.
To illustrate how environmentally conscious their toys are, B. toys sent me a couple of their toys to examine.
This B. toy didn’t come in a box. It was packaged in a round piece of plastic (number one) that encased the bottom of the toy. The #1 plastic is the most widely recycled plastic available. Unfortunately, we can’t recycle the plastic with our curbside recycling bins. However, I am using the plastic container on my desk to hold business cards, paper clips, rubber bands, etc. The Poppitoppy toy also has a ribbon (to hold the recycled gift tag in place). I’m not sure what it’s made out of, but it feels kinda like nylon. I don’t think it can be recycled with the regular stuff in your recycling bins, but you can reuse the ribbon with another present.
The cell phone toy was packaged in a box that can be reversed into a present box (you don’t need to use wrapping paper). The box is 100% recycled and recyclable. The packaging also includes reusable stickers for gift wrapping. There was also a sticker on the phone (“record your voice here”). I assume the sticker is recyclable, but I’m not sure. The main item of concern was the #1 plastic casing for the toy phone. As I said before, I can’t recycle the plastic with our curbside recycling bins. There was also one piece of plastic tie. The tie is made from 100% recycled polypropylene (PP). The plastic tie, like the casing, can be recycled but not in our curbside recycling bins. Like the Poppitoppy toy, the Hellophone also has a ribbon that can be reused.
Like most of us, B.toys isn’t perfect when it comes to the environment. However, I do think the company is on the right track and does a better job than most toy companies. I know I’ve opened many toys with a lot more plastic packaging material than the B. toys I examined over the weekend. How a product is packaged is something worth thinking about the next time we purchase a toy. BTW, don’t throw away your olds toys. Instead, give them away or donate them to a local non-profit.