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Toys and the 3Rs

2011 December 29

By Lina Younes

During the holidays, my youngest daughter and I undertook the project of cleaning up the toy room. As we approached the seemingly enormous task of going through all the toys, we opted for the following strategy. Divide the toys, books, gadgets, trinkets, etc. in three piles: one set of articles to keep, another to throw away, and the third to “recycle.”

In other words, the third pile of toys would donated to Goodwill.

The challenging process of sorting the items in three piles took quite a while. Many of the toys were full of memories, not only for her, but for me too. It was interesting to see which items finally ended up in the “must save” or “keep away” category. I saw how some of the valued items considered “must haves” from holidays past were easily discarded this time around. I confess that I added quite a few items to the “must keep” pile, such as some stuffed animals and baby toys. It was moving to see a pair of child gardening gloves that were half the size of my little girl’s hands today. How quickly they grow! Furthermore, I reluctantly added to the recycle pile some items that in spite of our personal memories were in a perfectly good condition and would definitely make another child happy.

So, a good activity to reduce clutter and help the environment is to go through a similar recycling project with your children. I admit it is not easy, but it has to be done. How do you approach going through old toys? As always, I will love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as acting associate director for environmental education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. Denise permalink
    December 29, 2011

    Great information, thank you. Also, as part of a house cleaning project, anything with metal in it can be recycled as well. Load up your metal and bring it to the local scrap yard.

    Not only will you clean the environment, but you’ll get some cash back as well.


  2. Allyson Two Bears permalink
    December 29, 2011

    The same practice is done in my household as well when it comes to the kids’ room. I love Christmas time for the childrens sake, but am appalled by the waste that is created along with it. So the environmentalist in me attempted to not create so much waste. I gave gifts not in pretty christmas themed wrapping paper, but in reusable grocery totes. There is still plenty of unwrapping goin on, when it comes to manufacturers packaging! That is another task on my list of to-dos. I am writing letters of concern to the toy makers to ask them to limit the amount of waste in their packaging. Also on the list….making reuasable Christmas gift bags out of cloth for next year. My mother did this on Christmas and she only had to throw one bag of trash, compared to the usual 3 at Christmastime.
    Have a wonderful New Year!

  3. jhon @ minijuegos permalink
    December 29, 2011

    Well, every event, either Christmas or New Year brings its waste as their profits not? these dates are not only pollutes the environment
    Jhon – minijuegos

  4. AJV permalink
    December 30, 2011

    I make reusable gift bags every year. I cut up old t-shirts to line them so they are a little stronger. My family loves the different materials and pretty ribbons I use to close them!

  5. Lina-EPA permalink
    January 1, 2012

    Very true. Happy new year.

  6. Lina-EPA permalink
    January 1, 2012

    Reuseable tote bags/gift bags. Thats a great idea! Happy new year!

  7. Kathy permalink
    January 3, 2012

    We have 4 piles of toys:
    Keep, Goodwill, Trash or Drop off at Grammy’s house. When visiting at Grammy’s house, they have toys to play with & they are happy to see those toys again. Happy New Year, Grammy

  8. Teodor permalink
    January 11, 2012

    I think it is good idea to do some cleaning up and revision of toys and decorations, also I think it good time to take some unwanted clouds and toys to charity , that they can donate this staff to people who are most vulnerable and spatially at Christmas time.

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