Hi, I’m Carol and I run the online toy shop, Eco Toy Co, with my partner Alex. We sell a wonderful collection of sustainable, fun, and ethically made children’s toys and games and offer lots of play ideas too.
After Alex and I had our first daughter we started to notice how much waste there was when it came to her toys, both in terms of the materials they were made from, the packaging they were in, and the short time they were played with. We were also often disappointed at how prescriptive a lot of the toys were. When our second child came along we didn’t want to end up in the same place with toys only lasting a few months at a time so we looked for alternatives and though there were a growing number of companies selling beautiful sustainable toys we started to see where we could do things a little differently, by offering sustainable toys on the more affordable end of the scale and providing lots of ideas on how to play with the toys we sell.
With every toy we think about selling we look at the materials it’s made from, how it was designed and made, where it’s coming from, how it’s packaged, how we think children will play with it, how affordable it is and the longevity we think it will have. This helps us decide if it’s a toy we want on our shelves. And whilst we know not every product we stock scores 100% on all points, we weigh these important factors up.
When you shop online it’s often impossible to know what something’s going to be packaged in, I’ve ordered a few eco-friendly products that rather frustratingly have come in unnecessary amounts of non-recyclable packaging. Sadly not all of our toys come packaged from our suppliers how we would like but we don’t hide that information or pretend there’s zero-plastic involved, we state it in the description. I believe being honest and imperfect is better than emitting information or pretending that something is zero-waste. What we are doing as a company is to work with our suppliers to help drive change. And something we’ve noticed in the past 6 months is that they are making positive moves. One of main suppliers, Janod, have recently started working with WWF to produce a special range of toys whose profits help support the fund. They have also made a big commitment to improving their processes, materials, and packaging across their other range of products. Seeing these big companies evolve like this is so wonderful and very exciting to be a part of.
When it comes to how we package up orders we created our ‘packaging promise’ which is to only ever use recyclable packaging materials, which includes the tape we use to seal the boxes, and where possible we reuse packaging we get from suppliers.
Aside from continuing to offer more in our range of sustainable toys, specifically looking for more UK makers to stock, we are working to build up our community so that we may reach more families and help them get the most from their toys. We want to work more with the brands we stock to bring bigger change. And eventually, we’d like to produce our own range of eco-friendly play resources and toys.
We’d love you to join our play community, if you’re on Instagram or Facebook our account is @ecotoycouk or please feel free to email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up to our mailing list for monthly updates, discounts, play ideas, and new releases.