Are you complaining about the amount of toys you’re buying to your children they play one or two days and then throw in a corner of the house? You are not alone. An average 10 year old owns 238 toys but plays just 12 daily. Rest? End up in the trash! Time to switch to circular economy.
Toys are designed as spark joy but they end up as waste once the interest of the child change. Unfortunately, we are in the age of children who get bored very quickly. This means even new toys lose interest at an extraordinary speed. The value of the global toy market exceed USD 90 billion in 2019. Huge economy! But, with 80% of all toys are thrown away ending up in landfills and oceans.
In France alone, more than 40 millions toys end up as waste each year. In UK, almost a third of parent have admitted to throwing away toys in good working order. Plastics, obviously, is the most common material of the toys. So, think of the waste, loss of money and the tremendous harm given to the planet!
Toys are very good example of the linear economy. In linear economy, we make stuff, use and discard it. Just like the toys…
Circular instead of linear
‘A new system is emerging: a circular system in which materials and resources loop around, again and again, without loss of quality, though sometimes in different forms. Everything is used, nothing is wasted, and our bin at the bottom is pretty much redundant, as we have found a use for everything we make and use. This is the Circular Economy.’ says Claire Potter in her book ‘Welcome to the Circular Economy: The next step in sustainable living’
The principles of the circular economy mean keeping materials and resources in use and retaining their value, rather than consuming and disposing of them. To achieve this, products are designed to have longer lives, and to be reused, remanufactured or reassembled instead of discarded. It is crucial to switch from linear to circular economy for a sustainable future!
It is not easy! Yet, challenging. Because, achieving a successful transition to a circular economy will require not only dramatic changes in the way products are designed and produced, but also dramatic changes in consumer behavior. Also the ways in which marketers think about the relationship between manufacturers and their customers.
But, as consumers, we have the atmost power to foster the change. Here are some real simple actions to contribute to circular economy:
- Purchase a more-or-less durable product
- Repair instead of replace
- Consider switching to “shared” product (renting/leasing)
- Think of used or refurbished products
- Donate instead of throw away
Let’s get back to toys. Some toymakers are already rethinking these issues by redesigning the production phase and also the traditional toy ownership.
Lego Replay, for example, is trying to encourage owners to donate used bricks to some children’s charities. They want to inspire its fans to pass along the bricks they are not using. According to a study by the University of Plymouth in the UK, a lego brick can survive 1,300 years in the ocean! Which is where a large proportion of non-recycled plastics end up. This initiative allows parents and children to send their bricks back to the brand – free of charge. Lego then sorts them before donating them to children through local charities.
Mattel Inc. announced the launch of Mattel PlayBack, a toy takeback program. At launch, the program will accept specific toys, such as Barbie and Matchbox, for recycling with other brands to be added in the future.
There are also similiar initiatives from various start-ups exploring re-use and sharing models for toys. French association Rejoue has been collecting, cleaning, repairing and reselling used toys, saving 300 tonnes of toys from landfill. Likewise Moritoys, a Turkish start-up, is aiming to circulate used and healthy toys via subscription model. Thus, Moritoys is among start-ups supported by Accelerate2030, World’s largest impact program ran by Impact Hub and UNDP.
Toys are only a striking example. Think of the whole product universe. These all are critical steps taken towards a circular economy.
As a consumer, we also have responsibility. Awareness is everything. Be aware what, why and how you consume. Even it is for your children.
As always said: Progress is good, even its imperfect…
“The Handbook to Building a Circular Economy” by David Cheshire
“Welcome to the Circular Economy: The next step in sustainable living” by Claire Potter
“Inspiring Green Consumer Choices: Leverage Neuroscience to Reshape Marketplace Behavior” by Michael E. Smith