9 Simple Ideas For Green Toy Collecting
"We love collecting and we love toys. But our love for Earth surpasses all."
Toy collecting can produce much waste. Most of the toys we collect today are made of plastic. Whether they're Marvel, Star Wars, or Transformers, plastic is a huge environmental problem. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a threat to humanity and it is almost all plastic. There are more patches and calling them patches is an understatement. Although toys are not the majority of the waste, it is still a great idea to introduce a more environmental culture to toy collecting. We understand the value of collecting and love the hobby, no judgement here. We are trying to introduce responsibility and best environmental practices to the community. This can be by reducing the plastic and paper footprint.
So here are 9 simple ways to help guide you on the path of being a Green Toy Collector! (no specific order)
1. Collect the figure and recycle the packaging
Many like to keep the box mint and never ever open it. Take out the figure and enjoy it.
The idea here is to reuse/recycle the box, instruction manual, twist ties, and clear plastic window or figure holder. The box art is usually very attractive and all, but it's just a picture. If you have a scanner, scan the box art and the instruction manual or simply snap a photo. The cardboard and manual can go straight to recycling. The twist ties vary sometimes between plastic bands, or harder wired plastic and even better "cardboardy" ties. They can be used for many things. For example keeping your cables organized or even for sealing garbage bags. The ties can also be used to hang figures for display*.
It would be nice to make instruction booklets obsolete. Just make them digital via a code on the packaging. Here is the link to a petition I made that I hopefully want toymakers to see. Please check it out
2. Encourage no box online retailers
We have to support retailers that sell items without the box (Tf-direct.com have some No Box items). We should also ask and encourage this option in existing retailers, like Amazon or BBTS. You could get a lower price for the figure and reduce the shipping weight for example. Online retailers don't need a blister card or a little indent in the cardboard to hang the product. This doesn't have to compromise the figure's safe shipping, if it's from a trusted supplier then they can just bubble wrap it and that's it.
3. Buy used or trade
Simple in concept. If you buy used figures off of ebay, craigslist, Kalaydo, you can choose to get clean ones without the packaging then you break the cycle. Stave off your perfectionism and try out the used market. I'm sure lots of garage sales have amazing bargains and great additions to any collector's cave. Trading also falls in this category.
Have you heard about the guy that traded his way from a paperclip to a house?
4. "Time Share" your collection
Find a nearby local collecting community, and loan your collection out to others. You can trade for a limited time or even trade permanently. Maybe even rent it out. Also instead of collecting all the figures in a set, you can split it between each other. For example, you can become the Megatron collector, while your friend becomes the Optimus collector. You can trade figures for a while, display them, get a feel for them and bring them back.
5. Choose a theme or character carefully
This is a bit general, but focus on one thing. You don't have to collect them all. That is just a marketing slogan. Collect only Decepticons for example. And when choosing what to collect, research it, see if this is something you want to spend your money on and if this is something you want to bear the responsibility of.
The smaller the plastic footprint the better. Although you can't guarantee a toy will end up in a landfill/ocean or not, but donating part of your collection when you're done with it, extends the life time of the plastic. If you can reuse your figures creatively that is even better. You can make keychains and give them out as gifts for example. Here is a cool tutorial on how to make a keychain with small Transformer toys.
Proactively, just try to limit your collecting. Don't buy as much. Consider collecting smaller figures with less plastic. Transformers Legends for example.
7. Encourage repaints, get creative!
Repaints, a curse and a blessing in disguise. The idea here is to encourage the repaint market. Because this means they extend a figure's molds' life, and thus don't have to introduce new components into the mix. Repaints can be fun. Or simply repaint the figures yourself, change it up a little.
8. If you have kids, share your collection
Toys are meant to be played with. Instead of buying a separate toy for your son or daughter, involve them with your collection. Teach them to take care of it responsibly. That way you hit 2 birds with one stone. Remember, we're not asking to take your precious $200 collectible and let little Timmy throw it down the stairs. Use common sense.
9. Go Digital
It's clear that Minecraft is a better alternative to Lego when it comes to being green. The digital space has infinitely more capacity. It has become mature to incorporate more imaginative worlds. Perhaps physical toys should be overlooked. Instead of collecting figures, collect characters in a game like pokemon or Transformers Battle Tactics.
Curb your toy collecting and go digital, for the sake of Earth.
That's it for now, I will slowly update this list or post new ones,
The main goal is spreading awareness and improve constantly. So please share and comment.
*Thanks to user Cobotron from Seibertron.com for the suggestion on hanging figures