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Do you have plastic toys? - Page 3

post #41 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
I totally agree that the production of plastic is an awful burden on the planet, but to be honest - I dont really like wood that much either.
This is a very good point. It also brings forward the different kinds of motivations/reasons we all might have for minimizing plastic. Aesthetics, pedagogy, and ethics certainly overlap, but following a "natural" aesthetic or a "waldorfy" pedagogical appraoch isn't going to protect me from having to think through the byzantine ethical issues which are also involved in consumptive practices.

Rather than saying "plastic is bad, wood is good" we could think through each acquisition carefully. But how exhausting, really. The hardest for me is bucking the culture of consumption; just switching my desires from one kind of toy to another doesn't address that.

BTW, my son has acquired a trike and 3 bikes so far (sounds crazy I know, but he started riding a 2-wheeler w/out training wheels a few months after turning 3, and used several sizes, as both his height and skill level increased dramatically in the past 8 months that he's been riding). All handed down or super cheap at second-hand shops. We have now passed several along-- the tiniest 2-wheeler has become community property on our block, and has been the "learning bike" for at least 3 more kids that I know of. Bikes are one item that is very easy to come by used in ridable condition. (However, I do understand your earlier point and deal with the same issue, which wasn't limited to buying your son a bike).
post #42 of 64
Yes, we do.

I will say that we've become more picky on what we buy/choose.

I think almost as important as what it's made of, is the quantity. So many kids have tons and tons and tons of toys. Too much. I know my kids do. It's overload. So, I think it's better to just be pickier on the quantity...as well as quality.

Last year, we started implementing a one toy/bday policy. So one from us... one from the grandparents. And still, we have way too much!
post #43 of 64
: we have too much too.
this year dd is getting a hand knitted sweater made by me as her b-day present. we are keeping it simple and practical.
post #44 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post

Rather than saying "plastic is bad, wood is good" we could think through each acquisition carefully. But how exhausting, really. The hardest for me is bucking the culture of consumption; just switching my desires from one kind of toy to another doesn't address that.
How very true! We started weeding out plastic toys last year and this year I find myself drowning in wooden toys. As much as it pains me, I've started to thin out the wooden ones (going to store a few, probably sell many more) so the kids can actually focus on and appreciate what is there. I met a family that had been living on sailboats for the past 2 years and the only toy that their 3 year old daughter had (and may I add, was very happy with) was a small playsilk.

Probably 5% of our toys are plastic, a fisher price train given with very sweet heartfelt intentions from my husband grandparents and a few small Schleich (sp?) animals that the boys love from zoo vacations.

It's a challenge for me because I really don't like plastic toys and most of the mass produced wooden toys (ie- the ubiquitous Melissa and Doug), but I also want to set a good example for the kids by being gracious and appreciative of gifts given with good intentions.
post #45 of 64
I will say I've found wonderful things on Etsy. Handmade toys, dolls, etc. Truly done by artists. It's a great resource... and to be honest, so many of these things are very affordable too!
post #46 of 64
yes yes!! a big fat : !!!! if we buy anything at all now its handmade :
post #47 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami View Post
I will say I've found wonderful things on Etsy. Handmade toys, dolls, etc. Truly done by artists. It's a great resource... and to be honest, so many of these things are very affordable too!

I bought a wonderful set of small handkerchief sized hand dyed playsilks for my LO and she likes to wrap her teddy in it, make blankets for her wooden dress up dolls. They were beautiful and and were only about £10 for about 6 rainbow colours. I'll find the address later and paste it here for anyone who is interested!:
post #48 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by PabloHoneySF View Post
I also want to set a good example for the kids by being gracious and appreciative of gifts given with good intentions.
Yes, this is hard. We try really hard to do the "one toy" policy but it gets ignored- or stretched. I also make specific requests (which also sometimes get ignored or misinterpreted-- an enormous set of plastic food was sent one year, for example...). Unfortunately, our son is the only grandchild/nephew on BOTH sides of the family. Even with one gift from each person, its too much! We give very modest, home-made gifts ourselves. But anyway, I struggle with this (some toys stay and the grandparents to be toys for there... some get given away after a few months.... I do believe that all should be acknowledged by my son)

Now when *I* give gifts to other kids, I either give something very modest (hand-made if I have time), or I give something more ephemeral (something they can "use up" and be done with). Or, I check first and I do sometimes give one hard-cover book. (I know, its not waldorfy of my, but I do love wonderful children's books).
post #49 of 64
A lot of interesting points....

I didn't know that most wood was from pesticide sprayed forests. Do you have evidence of that? I live in an area where there is a lot of logging and a huge history of logging - granted in the US - but I've never seen a forest sprayed!

If wood is a concern, just find some downed large branches and bring them home, slice thinly, let dry and then cut out toys.

I personally would *never* buy those Ostenheimer (sp! lol) wooden figures. Yes, they are beautiful, but it seems really wasteful to me personally to spend so much money on a small piece of wood when my husband can make one in 5 minutes or less out of wood scavenged from the forest or scraps of pine that are free at the local big box hardware store. Seriously, those are SO easy to make! It's easy to copy the nice ones and make them look very similiar too. Besides, I'd be afraid to let dd bring them outside to play with, afraid they'd get lost, wet, broken. I'd prefer to have homemade ones for heirlooms and if they get lost, so what since I didn't spend anything on them.

Which all just goes to show that it's interesting to see how all of us come to our individual values regarding toys.
post #50 of 64
I don't know about pesticide/herbicide use in forestry (my guess is that herbicides for control of non-valuable vegetation would be more common), but I do know that the destruction of forests is a huge problem-- both for environmental and social justice reasons. Obviously if you are gathering your own wood from a forest you live in and see and help care for, this isn't really an issue. Also, just because the logging practices you may *see* seem minimally destructive, it certainly doesn't mean that is the case everywhere.

I won't post this long thing I was writing and instead just say there is tons of info available out there-- look at any of the major international environmental organizations and they have quite a bit on illegal logging and deforestation. It is also well reported in the mainstream press. There is plenty of scholarly, scientific research on impact of logging, if you enjoy reading that sort of thing. Now, a few wooden toys is probably not the cause of all this demand for wood-- I believe its mainly driven by construction and paper.

here is the website for the forest stewardship council
http://www.fscus.org/

Here is website at WWF that describes threats to forests (globally)
http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_...lems/index.cfm

Here is an interesting article from the University of Minnesota ag extension website on sustainable logging practices: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distrib...es/DD6518.html
post #51 of 64
I understand about over logging and deforestation - just have never heard anything about the pesticides....
post #52 of 64
not much. we have a vacum and a shopping cart, both FP that were gifts and the kids love them. we also have some plastic play food that mil bought. ds has a few plastic cars for outside playa nd we do have plastic toys outside.
post #53 of 64
Here you go attachedmama

I live in Australia where blue gums are the main local wood plantation. These are also an important cash crop plantation wood grown in Hawaii & California. Blue gums are highly sprayed with pesticide. Locally we have real issues because the pesticides affect other agriculture such as fresh water marron (fresh water lobster) which are very sensitive to water quality. Here is a link to a brochure on pesticide use in plantations here, including blue gums and pines.

Plantations and pesticides
http://www.fwprdc.org.au/content/pdf...pestreport.pdf

We also have a problem with pine plantations. This is a US link I found that outlines the pesticides sprayed on them, though apparently its not common in colder areas. We live in warmer areas - where pine plantations are totally non-native but grow very quickly - so pests are a huge issue because the larvae season is longer. It makes sense that unnatural, single species plantations would need pesticides - no natural biodiversity to provide biological controls.
In the previous link it also outlines the regular use of herbicides to control other plant species that might try and grow in the pine plantation.

Pines
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/fi...tro_sawfly.htm

Finally, here is a list of the pesticides sprayed on wood imported to the US. I can guarantee wood products would not get through customs without being fumigated in this manner. Its just easier to fumigate a container of wooden toys than inspect each and every single little piece for signs of insect infestation, so that's what happens. Most of the wood used in commercial toys is sourced from cheap wood - mainly from Central America and Asia. This is the US National Standard of approved pesticides:

Stuff sprayed on imported wood
http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/expor....htm#sawnpinus
http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fores...ica/wood-chips

I think one of the problems with wood is that a huge amount of wood is sourced from other countries. While a North American pine plantation might follow environmental protocol, the vast majority of wood production is in 3rd world nations. Check out the generous links in the pp's.

I'm not kicking wood, really, lol, I'm just not convinced its all innocence and tickles.
post #54 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
Here you go attachedmama

I live in Australia where blue gums are the main local wood plantation. These are also an important cash crop plantation wood grown in Hawaii & California. Blue gums are highly sprayed with pesticide. Locally we have real issues because the pesticides affect other agriculture such as fresh water marron (fresh water lobster) which are very sensitive to water quality. Here is a link to a brochure on pesticide use in plantations here, including blue gums and pines.

Plantations and pesticides
http://www.fwprdc.org.au/content/pdf...pestreport.pdf

We also have a problem with pine plantations. This is a US link I found that outlines the pesticides sprayed on them, though apparently its not common in colder areas. We live in warmer areas - where pine plantations are totally non-native but grow very quickly - so pests are a huge issue because the larvae season is longer. It makes sense that unnatural, single species plantations would need pesticides - no natural biodiversity to provide biological controls.
In the previous link it also outlines the regular use of herbicides to control other plant species that might try and grow in the pine plantation.

Pines
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/fi...tro_sawfly.htm

Finally, here is a list of the pesticides sprayed on wood imported to the US. I can guarantee wood products would not get through customs without being fumigated in this manner. Its just easier to fumigate a container of wooden toys than inspect each and every single little piece for signs of insect infestation, so that's what happens. Most of the wood used in commercial toys is sourced from cheap wood - mainly from Central America and Asia. This is the US National Standard of approved pesticides:

Stuff sprayed on imported wood
http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/expor....htm#sawnpinus
http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fores...ica/wood-chips

I think one of the problems with wood is that a huge amount of wood is sourced from other countries. While a North American pine plantation might follow environmental protocol, the vast majority of wood production is in 3rd world nations. Check out the generous links in the pp's.

I'm not kicking wood, really, lol, I'm just not convinced its all innocence and tickles.
Thank you for the information. This was quite difficult reading as I have been buying wooden toys thinking that it is the 'healthy option' for toys to be made of in comparison to plastic. I have been very selective and buying from a UK website called Myriad where the wood has just got bees wax rubbed into it or it has been dipped in 'safe' natural colouring.The wooden toys mostly come from repuatable companies in Germany. I haven't been buying from big supermarkets, what I would call 'cheapy' wooden toys b/c i was unsure about the paint on them. So, now I feel depressed, b/c I can't see how it would ever be possible to know if the wooden toys we are buying have been sprayed woth horrible chemicals or not.

What I would love to know is what toys are safe?

Anybody else feel depressed about this????????????????
post #55 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaUK View Post
Thank you for the information. This was quite difficult reading as I have been buying wooden toys thinking that it is the 'healthy option' for toys to be made of in comparison to plastic. I have been very selective and buying from a UK website called Myriad where the wood has just got bees wax rubbed into it or it has been dipped in 'safe' natural colouring.The wooden toys mostly come from repuatable companies in Germany. I haven't been buying from big supermarkets, what I would call 'cheapy' wooden toys b/c i was unsure about the paint on them. So, now I feel depressed, b/c I can't see how it would ever be possible to know if the wooden toys we are buying have been sprayed woth horrible chemicals or not.

What I would love to know is what toys are safe?

Anybody else feel depressed about this????????????????
It depresses me too. I found these beautiful little egg cups for DD's kitchen at a garage sale, with bunnies and mushrooms painted on them. I can tell they have some sort of gloss. Am I poisoning DD? I can't bear to throw them out, but I don't want her playing with something harmful either.


I am not surprised, but I feel so disenchanted.
post #56 of 64
I think any small toy company that is concerned with health and the earth would probably be more than happy to tell you the source of their wood. If not, then I wouldn't buy from them.

Whereas a crate full of toys coming to the US are being fumigated, there is no way a single little package of toys being sent over from a European toy company is being fumigated. One is going to a warehouse and on to big box stores; the other to an individual.

I guess I never knew about the pesticides on wood because I live in the North. Logging around me is mostly from healthy forests with tons of diff sorts of trees. Often it's done ecologically, tho not always.
post #57 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by sora View Post

If you are in the process of getting rid of plastic toys, tell me why you are doing it. If you are keeping some plastic toys, I want to know why too...
Thanks!

Honestly, it is about aesthetics more than any other reason. I've been looking after children in my home for nearly 10 years now, since my dd was born. I'm intrigued by lots of the Waldorf (and Reggio) philosophies as they might apply to home child care, so that's where I'm coming from with this. But far more than that, I'm just TIRED of the garish 'decorated by Fisher Price' look. The "Waldorf is my way of life" look is so much more peaceful and harmonious with what I need my home to be like.

I am gradually replacing a lot of my plastic toys with more natural "Waldorf-y" alternatives as I go, but I am also making the choice to keep some items, too, esp. toys for preschoolers and older children with lots of play value. We love our Lego, Duplo, plastic dinosaurs, Little People here, too. Also the Schleich and Papo castle figurines. And some amazing hand puppets that are definitely not natural fibre.

I personally don't really believe it is at all frugal or environmentally friendly for me to be replacing what is functional and plastic and *already in my home* with new wooden toys, even handmade. (Even though I'm doing some of this.) I'd usually compromise by thrifting what I can, but second-hand wooden toys raise concerns with me about lead paint and finishes. And we don't have tools or space for woodworking...
post #58 of 64
I know, it can be depressing! That's why I'm so torn.
Its also why I had to start looking at things in perspective, its nearly impossible to own only organic toys.

You really do have to look at the individual toy and weigh up all of the pro's and cons.

Look at how the child will actuallly use that toy.
An outdoor wooden picnic chair set is likely to be exposed to the sun frequently (which I've read breaks up the pesticide residue in about 2-3 months depending on the intensity of the sun) and isn't likely to be mouthed.
But a wooden rattle on the other hand is likely to be put in the childs mouth and chewed on frequently.

And then of course you have to weigh up the alternatives - do you let your child chew on pretend wood food or pretend plastic food? Maybe you could buy woollen food, but then that requires sheep, which require pasture, which requires pesticides and fertilisers. In the end you might be better off letting them play with real food, or even making mud pies, than buying pretend, miniture, food.

Likewise, the best option imo for toys that may be used to contain food or drink is actually real, adult sized, food safe containers rather than miniture toy versions.
Use real pots and pans, real wooden spoons, real milk bottles, real tempered glass and porcelan containers. This is very Steiner and encourages imaginative play based on their observation of what adults in their own homes use.

And if you do want to avoid pesticides on woods your best option is to buy local or make your own. Or get your little one out into the garden to play with some living wood in your backyard
post #59 of 64
as far as the fumigation on imports....not too long ago i was talking to a lady in a small business who sold a supposedly 100% safe Baby Moses Basket..all natural, blah, blah....and after sometime of selling these to customers they found out every basket was being spayed at customs...anyhow they stopped selling them cause they couldn't find a way around the fumigation....
post #60 of 64
Melissa and Doug toys are tainted??!!! I hadn't heard this! Please elaborate. I may have to cull...
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