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Recycling

Can Old, Unwanted, & Broken Toys Be Recycled?

Steffen
30 May 2024
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Kids can grow up fast, often shifting their preference from one toy to another. Over time, this usually means that those once-beloved toys will eventually become unwanted, taking up valuable space in the home instead of being played with!

Unfortunately, this problem contributes to the bigger problem of waste generation in Australia — in 2020-21, the nation generated an estimated 75.8 million tonnes of waste. With most toys containing various types of plastic, this issue is further compounded by the fact that only 13% of plastic is recycled in Australia.

So, is there a better way to dispose of and recycle old, unwanted, and broken toys? Thankfully, the answer is yes — read on to find out how you can deal with unwanted toys in a sustainable way.

Types of toys that can be recycled

Most types of toys can be recycled, given that they are disposed of in the right way. These include toys that are made from materials such as wood, metal, plastic, or fabrics.

Examples of toys that can be recycled:

  • Cards
  • Dice
  • Board games (including packaging)
  • Interactive books
  • Handheld electronic games
  • Remote control vehicles
  • Stuffed toys/plushies
  • Baby toys
  • Action figures
  • Building sets (wood or plastic)
  • Puzzle pieces
tips to reduce toy waste

Types of toys that cannot be recycled

Some toys contain materials that are difficult or even dangerous to recycle and should not be tossed into the recycling bin. These include toys that contain lithium-ion batteries that cannot be easily removed and usually need more specialised disposal for safety reasons.

Other examples of toys that cannot be recycled are:

  • Play-doh and slime – Difficult to recycle due to its pliable nature.
  • Crayons – Too soft to recycle, but can be melted down combined to create new crayons

Recycle or donate – key considerations

When considering what to do with old or unwanted toys, recycling or donating them are both viable options. That being said, toys can only be recycled if that are suitable — if toys are not recyclable, donation is an alternative option. Donating instead of recycling toys can help to extend its lifetime use while enriching the lives of children in need.

Before collecting toys for donation, remember to keep the following in mind:

  • Check that the toy is still in working condition – broken toys should be recycled or disposed of.
  • Keep toys for donation clean – if possible, give preloved toys a wipe down or a wash (especially for fabric-based toys such as stuffed animals) in order to make them safe and hygienic for reuse.
  • Look for donation guidelines – not all organisations accept all types of toys, some may allow for toys with electronics to be donated, while others may state otherwise.
types of toys that cannot be recycled

Where you can donate old and unwanted toys

Here’s a detailed list of where you can donate old and unwanted toys in Sydney:

CaringKids

A non-for-profit organisation that accepts toy donations for children aged 4 to 12, up to 30cm in size. They have physical donation locations in Clovelly and Randwick, as well as a location in Hillsdale that accepts shipped donations for toys.

Dandelion Support Network

An organisation that works to redistribute toys and other family supplies to households in need across Sydney. Donated toys should ideally be bagged in the following age groups: 0-18 months, 18 months – 3 years, 3-5 years, and 6+ years. Donation collection locations include Taren Point, Earlwood, Maroubra, North Parramatta, Tallawong, West Hoxton, Woonona, and Manly.

Peninsula Toy Recyclers

A community-based group of senior citizens that work to repair and distribute donated toys to various charities. Donations can be dropped off at Manly and Mona Vale libraries.

Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Volunteer-run toyshop at The Children's Hospital in Westmead which accepts toy donations. All proceeds from donated toy sales are given back to the hospital.

Toy Libraries Australia

A main body for toy libraries all across Australia with over 280 locations across the nation, allowing families to borrow toys. Donations are accepted for toys that are still working and complete.

Save the Children

A network of op-shops across Australia that accepts a variety of children's items, including toys, and distributes them to children in need globally. Donations can be made at most op-shop branches.

Salvation Army

A charity organisation with numerous drop-off points for preloved toys across Sydney.

Lifeline

Ten shops across the Northern Beaches that accept donations of toys which they put up for sale to fund crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Big W

Toys for Joy is a recycling program that accepts donated toys and recycles them. Toys that are suitable for reuse are passed on to the Salvation Army. Collection points are available at each Big W outlet.

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Tips to reduce toy waste

No toy lasts forever, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t change how much waste comes from disposing old or unwanted toys. Apart from donation, which is a great way to give old toys a new lease of life, here are some helpful tips you can use to reduce toy waste at home:

  • Consider buying preloved toys
  • Opt for well-made, higher-quality toys that aren’t as likely to break apart
  • Borrow from a toy library
  • Repair old toys instead of tossing them out
  • Hand down older toys to younger siblings or relatives

How you can recycle large, bulky, and broken toys

Some toys are too large to dispose of in household recycling bins (e.g. playground sets), and broken toys are not accepted in donation centres due to their condition.

The best way to recycle large, bulky, or broken toys is with a rubbish removal service that focuses on recycling — like Ridly! Unlike most other rubbish removal companies, we make every effort to recycle every type of rubbish we collect, including unwanted or broken toys.

We have a team of removalists that handload all of your old toys during collection and transport them to an appropriate recycling facility to be processed.

Got a batch of toys that need to be disposed of? Give Ridly rubbish removal in Sydney a call to get it removed quickly and efficiently. With same-day collection, you can enjoy peace of mind and a clearer space while we dispose of it sustainably and responsibly.

Let Ridly give you a hand

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