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Toys in landfill

Nearly one in three parents admit to throwing away toys that are still in perfect condition
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Toys in landfill

A new survey shows thousands of parents are regularly binning toys that are still in perfect condition – and that 66% of the nation’s toys are plastic.

From Buzz Lightyear to Mr Potato Head, the British Heart Foundation’s survey found that 28% of UK parents admitted to discarding toys in perfect working order.

Interest lasts one month

Toys’ days may also be numbered from the moment they leave the box: the research found the majority of kids lose interest in a toy in just over a month (36 days).

Over one in five (21%) parents admitted their children lost interest in a toy in the first 11 hours of play, while a further 8 % said their offspring got bored of a toy in less than 60 minutes.

Secondhand toys

The figures show children have an average of four toys they’ve never even played with. This means there could be a staggering 162 million toys that have never been played with in the UK.

On the upside, over two-thirds of UK adults (73%) would buy a secondhand toy for their child or children, although only half (53%) have ever donated a once-loved toy to charity.

‘As a parent I know how easy it can be for outgrown toys to be piled everywhere, with some not played with for months. The British Heart Foundation’s Toy Amnesty is here to help clear out those toys that are ready for a new home and a new adventure. Call the BHF for a free collection or pop in to one of our 550 shops and donate in person – you could even pick up a donated toy at the same time. Every item sold in a BHF shop helps us to raise funds for our life-saving heart research and prevents thousands of once loved items ending up in landfill.’

Retail Director at the British Heart Foundation


In light of these stats, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is urging the public to take part in its ‘Toy Amnesty’ over the Easter break. Donating to one of the BHF’s 550 shops nationwide couldn’t be easier, with the charity offering a free toy collection service between 08 and 12 April.

Donors can use the #MyToyStory hashtag on social media to tell the BHF a bit about the toy they’re donating.

‘Your old toys, which you may just see as outdated bric-a-brac, could be worth hundreds or even thousands. If they’re still unopened or even if you have the original packaging, your donations could raise vital funds for charity.

‘Items such as Polly Pocket, Subbuteo, Corgi cars, Transformers, Star Wars and Lego, are all big sellers on our eBay shop. They often have cult followings and are in high demand from collectors. Toys from the 80s and early 1990s are popular too, as a lot of people who were children then are parents today and are keen to share the nostalgia from their childhood with their own kids.’

eBay Toy Expert at the British Heart Foundation

Diverting toys from landfill

The charity says the campaign could prevent many toys ending up in landfill and give them a new lease of life.

Last year the BHF enabled 70,000 tonnes of items to be re-used thanks to donations to its shops.

The proceeds of all toy donations will help fund research into beating heart and circulatory disease.

Click here to find out more about how to take part in the British Heart Foundation’s Easter Toy Amnesty.

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