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How to Recycle Old Toys

Updated on August 3, 2010

Recycling and Donating Your Old Kids Toys

There are a number of ways to recycle your old toys, all of which are great options for you and the environment. If you'd like to earn money from the sale of your toys, it's simple to list your items for sale on Ebay and other online websites. If you'd like to help out people less fortunate, then there are many worthy charities that could use your old toys.

Selling Your Old Toys

Selling your old toys is a very green option, and you'll be earning money on top of it. To be even greener, you can try to list your item locally so people can pickup the item from you instead of shipping it. However, shipping items using ground shipping is a perfectly green option as well. Here are some of the popular websites to use to sell your items:


You can sell your item using this auction powerhouse as long as you can reliably ship the item out to the customer. If you're not sure how to sell on Ebay, there are many tutorials available online that can get you started in the process. All you'll need is a digital camera, computer, and a few shipping supplies. Extra points if you reuse old boxes and packaging!


Craigslist is completely free to use. Millions of people use Craigslist daily to list their unwanted items because they're moving, need extra cash, or just need extra space. List your item locally on this website and have people pick it up right at your location, or meet them somewhere if you'd prefer. One other thing: Craigslist works really well in cities, so expect a bigger turnout there.

Yard Sales

Don't forget about the yard sale option! Hold a yard sale and get rid of everything you don't want. It's a freeing feeling to get rid of your junk and get paid for it!

Donating Your Old Toys

How to find a worthy charity to donate your old toys to

There are thousands of charities looking for your old toys, but some are much better than others. How do you determine which charities are worth your time? Which ones will put your toys to the best use?

  • Check to see if local children's hospitals will accept your old toys. Chances are, they may be able to put those old games and toys to good use for their little patients.
  • Call a local charity first instead of a large national charity. Look in your local Yellow Pages or online for charities in your town or vicinity by searching for the name of your town plus "childrens charity" or "kids charity." By choosing a local charity, you'll be ensuring your items won't be shipped across the country (or even to another country) when someone a few miles away could use them.
  • Toy drives, Salvation Army, and Goodwill all accept old toys. These are some of their hottest items, so by all means drop them off.
  • If you feel your toys are not in good enough condition to drop off, drop them off anyway. An imperfect toy is better than no toy at all, and it's better than throwing them away.

Reusing Your Old Toys

Toys can get a longer shelf life if you can store them out of the view of your child for periods of time. Rotating out toys can add renewed interest in toys they completely forgot about.

If you'd like to turn your old toys into something completely different, you can try to sort through your toys and see if they might serve any other purpose than what they were originally intended. Planet Green has given the idea to use your old stuffed animals as dry erasers as a lighthearted alternative to boring dry erasers.

You can even reuse Happy Meal toys if you'd like to get a little creative.

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How to Buy More Environmentally Responsible Toys (Next Time)

Not all toys are created equal. Unfortunately, cheaply made toys are (you guessed it) much cheaper in price than higher quality, and they often aren't good for the environment or your children. It isn't a rule of thumb that more expensive means better quality. What is a rule of thumb is that you have to be well informed on what you are buying and avoid toxic toys.

Five Things to Remember When Buying Toys:

  1. Look at the amount of packaging the toy uses. If the toy is packaged in abundant packaging, this is something to keep in mind. Not buying the toy is sending a message to the toy manufacturer that you don't approve. You can always send an email to the company stating that you WERE going to purchase the toy, but found the packaging to be too excessive. Who knows, it could lead to them rethinking their packaging and will only take you a few minutes.
  2. Check to see where the toy was made. If the toy is made locally, this is much better for the environment, supports local economy, and has a better chance of adhering to U.S. standards for childrens toys.
  3. Look for Toys Made with Recycled Materials. It's not terribly common, but the trend is slowly growing to use more recycled materials in toys.
  4. Check that the item is BPA free and phthalate free if the toy is for a baby. Buy from this list of the best organic baby toys if you'd like.
  5. Use your own reusable bag when shopping for toys. That's one less bag used and thrown away into the environment.


The author of this page sells eco friendly products like reusable paper towels, biodegradable trash bags, reusable produce bags, organic lotions, and natural home cleaning products on her website at Visit today and green more of your life!

How Do You Recycle Your Old Toys?

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    • profile image

      anne 7 years ago

      Let's be serious about this campaign.We all have reponsibilities to our environment.We have to save the world (we only got one) and we have to start it NOW!!!

    • profile image

      Ben 10 7 years ago

      You've pointed out things of note here. The amount of junk that ends up in landfill is a real shame and a reflection on a culture of consumption that is taking the world down an unsustainable path.

      Over the past few months my local charity shop has received so many of our old toys I'm on first name terms with the ladies that work there!

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      Good job! I hope people will respond to your suggestions. If we all do just a little, it will help out a lot.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 7 years ago from Minnesota

      This is an awesome hub. Lots of great tips and I love eco-friendly articles :)

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      I wish more people would think like you. Recycling is, in my opinion, the most underutalized single thing we can do to help the environment.