Environmental website Green Sword has launched a campaign encouraging the public to avoid toys with excessive packaging as they fill their shopping baskets in the run-up to December 25.

About 3m tonnes of household rubbish will be produced in the UK over Christmas, and for every tonne created by homes, a further 15 tonnes is produced in manufacturing and extraction of raw materials.

Green Sword is encouraging each UK household to buy just one toy which does not require packaging or has minimal packaging – a move which could save the equivalent of 1,325 double-decker buses.

Professor Ian Swingland, director of science, said: “The packaging alone accounts for some 20% of the cost and 35% of the total amount of material, toy and packaging,

“The UK’s lack of legislation outlawing the over-packaging of such wasteful and damaging ephemera, that are so difficult to dispose of without harming the environment, is a disgrace.”

He added that many of the toys themselves could end up in landfill within months of being unwrapped on Christmas Day.

He said: “Over the next few weeks family and friends will spend £181 on toys for the average child.

“But 41% of them will be broken or lost within three months. Because of the difficulty of recycling heavy plastics most of these will head for the tip.”

Green Sword is offering parents tips on how to reduce packaging this Christmas, including:

  • Ensure you buy toys with minimal packaging and check it is recyclable by looking on the back for the Recycle logo
  • Find environmentally-friendly toy retailers in your area or online
  • Buy second hand
  • Join a toy library where toys can be rented
  • Instead of buying a toy, donate to a scheme that helps the environment or the developing world
  • Kate Martin

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