A lot of used toys can be found in toy bins across the globe, waiting to be sent to the landfill. Because there is where the most of used toys end up. It is estimated that 10 million toys end up in landfills every year globally.
Plastic toys are a recycling challenge. 90 percent of toys manufactured today are made from plastics or plastic components and they are also often composed of other materials too, such as metals. The recyclable components can’t be separated out, and therefor they get prohibited from recycling centers.
But luckily, the toy libraries have come to the rescue and give used toys a second chance.
What is a Toy Library?
A Toy Library is similar to a traditional library; toy libraries provide resources for play, including toys, games, trained staff and dedicated space.Toy Libraries are open to everybody children and adults, institutions, organizations A toy library is a service that provides the opportunity for shared play and/or the loan of toys and games. A toy library can be operated by individuals, charitable organizations, local, regional or national governments. Toy libraries, can be seen as community resource, offering information, guidance and support to members in addition to the loan of toys and games. Some Toy Libraries also offers play sessions.
A membership is needed, some membership comes with a small fee some not or you donate a used toy to the library.
Every toy library is supervised by a toy librarian. The librarian’s responsibilities is to check toys out and back in, encourages safe, cooperative play among the children. Sometimes, they also join into the children’s activities. Another responsibility is to maintaining the library’s toys. Whenever a toy is checked back in, it needs to be checked for damage to ensure that it’s still safe to play with. Toys that are damaged or broken need to be repaired. All toys must be clean and disinfected, particularly toys for young children before putting the toys back in circulation again.
There are also mobile Toy Libraries that travels on wheels, from neighborhood to neighborhood. Children can come and play and also borrow toys when the toy library arrives.
Benefits of Toy Libraries:
- Financial Benefits Borrowing toys from a toy library, parents can spend less money on new toys and reduce consumption .Children from low income families get access to more toys..
- Environmental Benefits. When a lot of children can share one toy instead of each having their own, less new toys need to be produced, which saves resources and energy. Younger children can continue to play with the toys that older ones have outgrown, less old toys will end up in landfills.
- Social Benefits.Toy libraries provide a safe place for children to meet and socialize with other children. They can learn important social skills like, sharing, and taking turns. Toy Libraries also weakening the social differences between children,
- Education. Children of all ages learn by playing.
- Help for Children with Special Needs. Many toy libraries offer specially adapted toys for children with disabilities.
- Toy libraries advocate quality, well-made toys with excellent play value to ensure that the toys in their loan collection are long lasting and sustainable.
- Children learn the values of solidarity and sharing from an early age.
- Toy Libraries ensure that children from low income families have access to toys.
- Toy Libraries give access to toys and play for all children in a community.
- Children become a part of shared economy and a reuse habit from an early age.
There are Toy Libraries in Europe, USA, Asia, Oceania and Africa.
Toy Libraries provide a wide range of toys for their members and therefor also reducing waste and environmental impact!
Funding of Toy Libraries is mostly generated from grants and donations. Toy Libraries rely on voluntary help from community citizens for repairs of toys, toy donations etc. Some also uses out placed containers where people can donate used or outgrown toys.
Containers and toy libraries are an excellent example of the importance of reusing items, a concept promoted in the European Commission’s Waste Management Strategies. Preventing waste is the first and most important step in the overall waste management.
Be sustainable. Borrow toys!