Eco-friendly toys: Families dreaming of a green Christmas

Colour-in Christmas tree

Ian Begley

More Irish families will be resisting the urge to splurge this Christmas by choosing to opt for an eco-friendly alternative that will reduce waste to a minimum.

The new generation of green-minded families are getting ready to celebrate the holidays with cardboard Christmas trees, plastic-free gifts wrapped in recyclable paper and food that will not go to waste.

Retailers are also starting to take notice at the demand for giving their customers a guilt-free shopping experience, such as Irish eco-toys companies and The Kind. The duo will be launching a new pop-up shop on Fade Street, Dublin, this year, which will have a range of eco-friendly board games, flat packed toys, wooden puzzles, bouncy balance boards and construction toys.

The Conscious Christmas Store will also offer eco-friendly wrapping and cards, reusable crackers and even recycled Christmas trees. founder and Dublin mum Sharon Keilthy said that children these days are constantly being taught about how important it is to be environmentally aware.

"I've noticed how active Irish kids are about the environment this year. They admire Greta Thunberg and the school strikers. My vision is an eco-section in every toyshop."

Founder of Sharon Keilthy, pictured with Ava, thinks families will want eco-friendly toys and decorations.

Shane Colgan, from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told the Irish Independent that the typical Irish family can do their bit for the environment this Christmas without going over the top. "There's no question that a big change is coming in terms of people becoming environmentally aware. Christmas means a lot to families, but there are little things they can do to avoid waste, without changing the meaning of the holidays altogether.

"One of the biggest issues we have is food waste. We would encourage people to buy and cook only what they will eat instead of binning their leftovers."

The EPA representative said it's also important to use the right bins when disposing of waste.

"Make sure that whatever you're throwing into the green bin is actually recyclable," he said. "A lot of people don't know that shiny wrapping paper has a plastic layer on it that can't be recycled. We would encourage everyone to wrap their presents in paper that they can actually recycle."

Christmas tale board game

A spokesperson for Repak said that Christmas continues to be a heavy period for waste generation each year in Ireland.

"Across the 2018 festive period, over 86,000 tonnes of packaging waste was produced. It is therefore of crucial importance that the public follow correct recycling etiquette during Christmas and beyond."