Family life

6 sustainable ways to declutter your playroom

Your kid's broken action figures, tiny plastic trinkets from loot bags and dried out markers don't have to end up in the landfill.

6 sustainable ways to declutter your playroom

Photo: Erik Putz

It’s easy to just shut the door and pretend your playroom isn’t a dumping ground for every birthday present, party loot bag and art experiment. While lots of toys can be passed on or resold, here’s what to do with the stuff that usually ends up in the trash.

1. Tiny toy co.

That little partnerless doll shoe you found in between your couch cushions, or a random piece from a Lego set—basically any small toy or toy debris that can be named is something that this Canadian social enterprise wants. The company, founded by a teacher-librarian, up-cycles these items into educational kits.

Send toys or toy pieces that are no bigger than the palm of your hand to its Etobicoke, Ont., mailing address. Or, if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, you can drop them off at several locations. There are some exceptions to what they’ll accept, like doll clothes, broken plastic pieces and electronic toys, for instance, so it’s best to consult the Tiny Toy Co. website before sending toys in.

Endless scraps of paper, dried-out markers and pens with missing caps don’t have to end up in the landfill.

2. Staples

Mechanical pencils and used pens, markers, highlighters and their caps, can be returned to Staples Canada to be recycled by TerraCycle (see below) for free.

3. Crayola


With Crayola’s ColorCycle program, students in participating provinces can collect used Crayola markers in their school, which are then shipped for free to be repurposed or recycled.

4. Terracycle

This New Jersey-based company, launched by an entrepreneur who grew up in Toronto, specializes in recycling otherwise hard-to-recycle items like electronic toys, action figures, shoes, sippy cups, diaper pails, snack wrappers and baby food pouches. Simply buy a box for the type of item you need to purge, fill it up and send it back. They’ll take care of the rest.

Car seats

car seat Photo: Courtesy of Clek

Yep, we see that bucket seat collecting dust under the pile of stuffies in the back corner of your kid's playroom. Likely the biggest hunk of junk making its way to a landfill near you is your kid's old car seat. But there's hope.


5. ATMO Recycling

This non-profit social enterprise hires people with barriers to employment, such as new immigrants or those with disabilities, to take car seats apart so all the materials can be properly recycled. Operating in Ontario and British Columbia, a recycling fee may apply. ATMO also works with local municipalities and retailers on special days when car seats can be brought in to be recycled.

6. Clek

Working with ATMO, this Canadian car and booster seat maker will recycle old Clek products for a fee of between $25 and $40, depending on the model.

This article was originally published on Jan 06, 2020

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.