Christmas: wooden games, recycled toys, second-hand… are there more environmentally friendly toys under the tree?

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Christmas is just over a month away and some French people are already thinking about the gifts they will leave under the tree. Original, quality, not too expensive and environmentally friendly? More and more French people are looking at the ecological footprint of their purchases, especially toys. Short circuits, games made of wood or recycled plastic, we help you see things more clearly in this ecologically responsible catalogue.

Building games, dolls, board games and recently also ‘ecologically responsible games’, a category in itself in the catalog of certain toy brands. This recent name hides great classics, such as wooden games, but also board games about ecology or games from sectors made in France and, above all, proof of environmental awareness.

It’s King Jouet’s turn in the aisles. A new shelving layout has been tested in recent days and with scores ranging from 1 to 5, the products are classified based on environmental criteria (1). “We’re riding the wave a bit,” admits a saleswoman.

An environmentally friendly ‘scoring toy’

At JouéClub, wooden games have always occupied a prominent place on the shelves, but specialists have noticed an increase in demand in recent years. “This is a special customer base, who is less careful about the price,” explains a saleswoman. If the quality and robustness of the wood is attractive, its origin also makes a difference. “We are sometimes asked if everything happens in France,” says the latter. Anyone who says short circuit means less transport and therefore a smaller CO2 footprint. Made in France also stimulates local employment.

There is a label for wooden games that guarantees the sustainable exploitation of forests, this is the FSC ecolabel. Some Christmas bestsellers even have their wooden version, such as Lego©. But wood is not the only positive material for the environment. More and more manufacturers are choosing recycled plastic for their toys. Even Mattel©, which markets the most famous doll in the world, is aware of these ecological problems for its Barbies. Recently, dolls made from 90% ocean plastic have been released.

Also soft toys made from organic linen or hemp, materials grown without fertilizers or pesticides, as well as games with vegetable ink. In addition to the environmental benefits, such components pose fewer risks to the health of children and babies who, as we know, often put their toys in their mouths…

Toys contribute to the carbon footprint of Christmas

Ademe (Environmental and Energy Management Agency) has also communicated three golden rules for choosing environmentally responsible toys. “For toys that are more respectful of the environment and the well-being of children, it is better to select them with as little plastic as possible: prefer wood and natural materials; without perfumes, which release volatile organic compounds that irritate the respiratory tract and without batteries: for less energy consumption.

But are these instructions actually followed? If we can believe Ademe, less than one in five French people think about ecology during their holidays. However, 57% of greenhouse gas emissions caused during the holidays can be attributed to gifts, 19% of which come from toys. Although the French seem to want to do better, according to an OpinionWay survey, there is still an obstacle holding them back: 52% of French people estimated in 2021 that the price of eco-friendly toys was the main obstacle to purchasing them Products .

Also read:
RIGHT OR WRONG. Christmas 2023: will toy prices finally drop?

However, for a smaller carbon footprint, it is possible to choose the portfolio with the purchase of second-hand games, a market that has been growing for several years, with inflation helping.

Finally, games exist to directly teach children about preserving the planet. Scientific games to create your own biosphere, cards about endangered animals or even board games to learn how to reduce your waste in a fun way… there is no shortage of choice.

(1) The label, called “Toy Score”, was developed by King Cadeau with the support of EcoMaison, an organization approved by the state to take care of the collection, reuse and recycling in the games and toys sector . The best score is achieved if the toy is sold ‘without packaging’ and is made in France and from ‘monomaterials, FSC or recycled wood.

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