The vast majority of toys kids play with are made from plastic. Hasbro—a popular manufacturer of toys like Mr. Potato Head, My Little Pony, Nerf and Marvel—said the plastic packaging they come in will soon be a thing of the past.
In 2020 Hasbro will begin phasing out plastic packaging, including polybags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, window sheets and blister packs from new products. The company aims to eliminate plastic from their packaging entirely by 2022.
“Reimagining and redesigning packaging across our brand portfolio is a complex undertaking, but we believe it’s important and our teams are up for the challenge,” said John Frascotti, Hasbro’s President and Chief Operating Officer.
Hasbro hasn’t announced the packaging alternative they’ll use just yet, but the change is one consumers welcome. It’s Hasbro’s latest move in a decade-long journey to become a more sustainable business, a press release said. Last year, the company launched a toy recycling program with TerraCycle who will give the toys new life as materials used in play spaces, flowerpots, park benches and more.
Mr. Potato Head isn’t going anywhere though. Most toys, including the iconic potato, will still be made from plastic. Mr. Potato Head and the rest of the Toy Story gang have played a pivotal moment in many children’s lives. But just like Andy lost interest in his toys in the movie, kids lose interest in playing with their toys. Unless toys are donated and reused, or sent to special recycling programs, they typically end up in landfills where they will exist forever. And that’s not what Buzz Lightyear meant when he said, “To infinity and beyond!”
Eliminating plastic from their packaging is a good start, but Hasbro and hundreds of other toy manufacturers have a long way to go before implementing a sustainability program that is truly sustainable.
So what’s the alternative to plastic toys? Aside from wood toys and a handful of startups creating toys from more sustainable materials, there aren’t a lot of options out there. Buying used toys and giving them a new life is a great place to start. It’s a win for your wallet and for the planet! Even better, encourage kids to play without toys. Remember the days of hide-and-seek, imaginary friends, and playing on the playground? Not only were those activities plastic-free, they also teach kids to use their imaginations and do more with less.