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Why I’m Buying Second-hand Toys This Christmas...

It’s a beautiful sight, right? All those perfectly wrapped, brand new presents under the Christmas tree, just waiting to be opened. I’ve been there: receiving new toys in the mail from some crazy online shopping spree, my eyes a-twinkle when I open those boxes and how nice they look, how much my nephews will love them in their packaging.

I work at Reverse and Change Ltd, we are a recycling centre based in Erith. And we get hundreds upon hundreds of re-useable toys. Mountains of toys. Mountains. I walked past one of the massive toy bags one afternoon and do a double take and picked up a puzzle, I thought might be a good present for one my three-year-old nephews and saw that it still had it’s packaging on - it had never even been played with! We get loads of toys and games like this. And that just made me feel so.… sad.

What are we doing, when we keep on buying more and more new toys for the world when the world already has so many? Surely, they aren’t all recyclable. Where are they ending up? What happens when even the charity shops can’t take any more toys?

I really want to instill in my nephews with the value of being a good steward of the earth and the people in it. Sometimes that’s hard – choosing to love something bigger than yourself will always cost, and it does mean giving up the shiny packaging on Christmas day. But it doesn’t mean their presents have to be sad! Second-hand toys can be out of the box (but never used), unnoticeably used, repurposed by a family member or even vintage.

I know this won’t work for everyone. Kids expect Christmas to be the same each year and I know it’s hard to change. But both of my nephews are three – isn’t this the perfect time to set in them values I would like to see them carry on forever? And maybe this year, you could take up the challenge in just a tiny way and choose just one thing out of the “present pile” that your kids could receive second-hand.

Our planet will thank you!

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