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Playtime is crucial to children’s healthy brain development; it is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

Whether you are acquiring toys for the special children in your life, or for a play area for your property or restaurant, remember that your choices can make an impact both socially and environmentally.

Here are 7 tips on how you can go about choosing the right toys for kids: 

  1. Look it up

Before purchasing a toy, look it up online to make sure there are no recall notices.

To check if the toy you want to purchase is safe, try looking it up on Healthy Stuff. They have a database of products that you may use to your advantage.

  1. Check for labels

Familiarise yourself with symbols on product labels so that you can avoid toys that may have harmful substances like lead, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) etc.

If a label is missing, look up the toy online and check if there are any complaints about it.

  1. Shop local

By buying from local vendors, you support the local community and bring down the need for importing products from far-flung places; this subsequently reduces greenhouse gas emissions as well.

  1. Buy second hand

Children grow out of their toys so quickly ­– they lose their lustre or they move past a certain developmental phase. Look out for yard sales, and check your local consignment store or Salvation Army for deals! You’ll be surprised to find many new toys still in the box. On the flip side, when your children grow out of their toys that still have lots of life left, save them for nieces and nephews, donate them, or sell them on a local Facebook group! Make a buck while saving more items from landfill.

  1. Select the right material

Try to avoid buying plastic toys whenever you can because, they can often contain various chemicals and toxins that can be harmful to your little ones and the environment.

Consider toys made from more natural materials, such as wood, wool, and cotton. If you’re buying puzzles and books, check to see if natural inks were used on recycled and biodegradable materials.

  1. Get creative

Perhaps exercise your creativity and handcraft something for your kids to play with. Here are some fun DIY projects you can try. Other favourite resources include:

  1. Steer clear of batteries

Batteries pose a threat to the environment because of the toxic waste they release upon disposal. They are also a choking hazard for your little rug rats. Therefore, instead of opting for battery-powered products, go for ones where your kids have the freedom to bring the toys to life with pure, unadulterated imagination.

Sustainable toys will not only ensure a safe and happy childhood for your kids, but it will also help secure the world for generations to come. It’s a win-win!

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Enjoy the summertime while practicing eco-friendly habits. A little goes a long way in terms of sustainability, and every bit of effort counts.

Here are seven tips to help you go green this summer:

  • Stay hydrated by carrying your own refillable tumbler or water bottle. Refuse to use single use plastic bottles, cups and straws.
  • Get a few indoor plants, they can act as natural air purifiers and will liven up your space.
  • Save on your electricity bill by letting in natural daylight. Remember to turn off lights, fans and other electronic appliances when not in use. Switch to energy efficient LED light bulbs.
  • Use eco-friendly deodorants to stay fresh this summer. They are better for your skin and, of course, the environment. If you can’t find them in the market, try this simple DIY.
  • Prepare a hearty meal at home and avoid processed foods. This will minimize waste generation and will also be beneficial for your health.
  • Ride your bicycle or walk to travel short distances. Use public transport to cover greater distance. If you can’t avoid driving, try staying within the speed limit, as this is more fuel efficient.
  • Instead of using the dryer for clothes, let your laundry dry out in the summer sun.
  • Shop for produce at local markets. This supports the economy and the community at large.

If you’re planning to go on holiday, try going green and help to preserve the beautiful destinations for generations to come.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Halloween is just around the corner so here are some ideas to ensure that the spookiest time of the year is green. Whether you are celebrating with your family and friends or have a themed event at your office, you are only a few steps away from a ‘green’ Halloween.

Decorations and costumes

Look for do-it-yourself decoration ideas by making the most of recyclable items around your house and workplace. Browse for easy recycled decoration ideas and be inspired. Tin cans of all sizes, empty glass bottles, jars and toilet paper rolls can easily be turned into scary décor. It’s the same with your costume. Browse your wardrobes or the local flea markets for clothing suitable for your scary DIY Halloween costume.

Choose environmentally-friendly face paint to make your own fake blood. to get motivated, or if you lack all necessary items, make it a fun get-together with friends and ask them to bring arts and crafts supplies and recycled materials to trade.

Food and drinks

No Halloween party is complete without drinks and snacks. Green your party with reusable crockery and cutlery and search for recyclable or compostable items if required.  Choose organic candy without artificial flavours or preservatives. There are many options for delicious and healthy home-made Halloween snacks including vegetarian/vegan options that do not require detailed preparation and cooking/baking skills.

Pumpkins

Halloween is simply not the same without pumpkins. However, think about how to get the most from your pumpkin. Many people use pumpkins purely for decoration, even though they make delicious pies, soup, bread and even dog food. Check out these creative upcycling ideas for pumpkins using old sweaters, socks and more. If you choose a real pumpkin, make sure to read our tips on what to do with pumpkin waste.  

Take this year’s green Halloween initiative one step further by staging a fun competition in your workplace. Form teams to create the most sustainable and creative decoration for the office and then post your spooky Halloween photos on social media.

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Spring has sprung, the warmer weather is finally here, and cleaning projects have begun at home and in the office. But, does the dust tickle your nose, or does the smell of cleaning products make you apprehensive, perhaps worried about what you are breathing in? Have no fear – below are some easy solutions to make your spring cleaning healthier and greener.

 

  1. Make your own homemade green cleaning solutions
  2. Add plants to your indoor space to help clean your air
  3. Get rid of clutter by donating, recycling, or upcycling unwanted items
  4. Ditch the paper products for reusable cloths (old t-shirts that can be washed)
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