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Eco-challenge #9 Results: Plan Toys to the Rescue!

12.14.09 Eco-challenge #9 Results: Plan Toys to the Rescue!

Before I start…let me remind everyone I am the eco-challenged mom…and that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Ha – now that I have your attention…Eco-challenge #9 was all about researching and replacing the unsafe toys in our toy box.

Like most parents, I don’t like messing with a good thing. If a toy makes my boys happy (and keeps them quiet) I use it. Simple formula.

With that in mind, I somewhat reluctantly dug through our toy box and pulled out a few things I was sure were going to rank pretty high on the toxic meter.

Did they??? I wish I knew.

Although there are a couple of great databases (healthystuff.org and goodguide.com) figuring out if a toy is toxic is like finding a needle in a haystack. I spent about 5 hours looking up about 10 toys…and only found information on 3 of them. Not sure if no news is good news...just left hanging.

That being said, there were some no-brainers that I feel comfortable getting rid of without learning any sordid details. Mainly, a few talking plastic cars that drive me absolutely nuts and some train/cars bath toys that I’m almost positive contain Phthalates based on similar products that were off the charts bad. Done. Next?

Ahhh…the most loved items in our house… our die-cut Thomas trains and Disney cars. Found tons of info about the great Thomas recall of 2007 but since that concentrated mostly on the wooden trains (not die-cast), I didn’t dig in there. Surprisingly, I couldn't find very much info about die-cast toys in any of the databases. Weird. I did find one car from our collection that  was voluntarily recalled by Mattel in 2007 for lead paint - Sarge. This was before I bought him but I still threw him in the goodbye box. Sorry Sarge but I know you’d agree with me it’s better to be safe than sorry. Which brings me to…

What I learned this week:

  • Researching toys sucks. There are still a lot of grey areas when it comes to safety and toys. Hats off to the people trying to figure this out. Their jobs have to be highly frustrating! 
  • Look before you ditch. I’ve been told by so many people to replace all of my plastic toys with wood to make sure the kids are 100% safe. But when I’m staring at a release about 1.5 million WOODEN Thomas trains being recalled, that’s a little hard to swallow. Truth is, with paint and dye and whatever else, it’s way more complicated than that. Unless you’re buying from a company you trust, you just don’t know how the toy will rank without looking it up.
  • So these toys are bad…now what? Can’t throw them away. Can’t donate them. What do I do with these bad toys? My genius plan is to keep them in a box in the basement until I get a recycling challenge.
  • THANK GOD FOR MIGHTYNEST! I know first hand how much time and energy has gone into vetting each toy for safety. This means I can load up without having to do any research. YAY!!

In fact, Santa just picked up the Garbage Truck (or as Jack will say - a stinky truck) and Fire Engine from Plan Toys. All non-toxic and the boys are going to love them. A win-win.

THE RESULTS...Is this a change I can realistically incorporate into my daily life?

5 stars: SOLD! Where do I sign?

4 stars: Love it. I think I can pull this one off

3 stars: Not quite sure, but can’t wait to try

2 stars: Sorry guys, probably not gonna happen.

1 star: Gonna take a pass on this one.

Back tomorrow with the next challenge...

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