PhotoThe average household with children amasses its share of broken, trash-bound toys. For Earth Month, Tom’s of Maine has partnered with recycler TerraCycle to help prevent broken toys from ending up in landfills.

The natural personal care product manufacturer says its Less Waste Challenge toy recycling program is part of an initiative to educate consumers and their children about the amount of waste their household sends to landfills.

"Knowing what to do with broken toys is a challenge because as parents we don't want to be wasteful and throw them away. We want to show our kids there are better solutions," said Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom's of Maine, in a statement.

"The act of recycling a toy together can be a way for parents to start a conversation with their kids about what we can all do to take care of the planet for generations,” Dewhirst said.

Collected, donated, recycled

The number of broken toys sent to landfills is significant, says Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle. In fact, a recent study found that 55% of parents frequently throw out toys to reduce clutter in their homes.

The companies hope to divert broken or unwanted toys from landfills by collecting, donating, and recycling them. To get in on the program, consumers can print out a free shipping label, load up an old box with up to 10 pounds of unwanted toys, and ship the box to TerraCycle. 

Toys that can be recycled include:

  • Dolls
  • Discarded toys or toy pieces
  • Cards
  • Dice
  • Game boards
  • Packaging from board games
  • Books with sound
  • Handheld electronic games and players
  • Remote control vehicles
  • Electronic stuffed animals
  • Baby toys
  • Building sets
  • Stuffed animals
  • Puzzle pieces
  • Game pieces
  • Action figures

Trash to treasure

By taking part in the recycling initiative, “Parents can feel good knowing that broken toys can be 100% recycled or reused, which helps planet Earth,” Szaky said.

Beyond donating old toys, families can help the earth by taking Toms' #LessWasteChallenge pledge to reduce their household waste by one pound per week.

Additionally, visitors to the Tom’s of Maine website can find environmentally-friendly DIY projects that can be done using items that might otherwise be tossed in the trash.

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