From the materials used to manufacture toys, to toy share schemes and recycling initiatives, the toy industry is becoming more sustainable.

That’s according to Gary Pope, co-founder of marketing agency, Kids Industries, one of the big sponsors for the Sustainability in Licensing Conference (SILC) on 24-25 June.

A sustainable culture is evidently forming, he believes, with at least 70% of kids claiming to do at least three environmentally friendly things every day such as recycling or choosing a green method of transport. But sustainability is not always easy – nor is it cheap.

Apps like YoungPlanet work by letting parents list a range of unwanted items such as toys, books, clothes and baby equipment and connects them to people who do want them. It started in Hackney, London, three years ago, by the parents of three children, and has now 35,000 users across the UK. Children grow out of things so quickly, initiatives like this give old toys a new lease of life.

New toys will always be important and in 2020, the LEGO Group announced a deeper commitment to sustainability by pledging to reduce its carbon emissions by 37% by 2032. This target includes emissions from the Danish brickmaker’s own operations and its supply chain.

Brainstorm Toys has launched a sustainable collectible called EUGY, building 3D models of simplified miniature animal collectibles, made from biodegradable card with natural eco-friendly ink and non-toxic glue. 

Meanwhile, Mattel’s new toy recycling initiative – Mattel PlayBack – is designed to recover and re-use materials from old products in the manufacturing of new toys. They give free shipping labels online to package and send their old Mattel toys back to the company. They will be collected, separated by material type, processed and recycled. Products that can’t be repurposed into new toys will be down-cycled into other plastic products or converted into energy.

Kids Industries is sponsoring the Sustainability in Licensing Conference (SILC) on June 24-25.

Tickets to SILC are just £100 (+VAT) and are available from, or from Clare Hollick of Createvents (event support) on or by calling 0118 334 0085.

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