Your attic is full of old stuffed animals and you don't know what to do with them? Are you thinking of getting rid of them while recycling them?
While they can be essential to the good emotional and intellectual development of your children, soft toys remain polluting toys for the environment.
Over time, stuffed animals can get damaged or be neglected by your children. Moreover, if you are used to decorating your room with stuffed animals, you must now have more than enough. This may cause you to think about getting rid of some stuffed animals , to leave some room for new ones.
In this article, we invite you to discover the most ecological options , which will allow you to dispose of your old stuffed animals while respecting the environment by adopting eco-responsible recycling methods. Good reading !
Are the stuffed animals recyclable?
Today, more than ever, scientists are warning us of the risks associated with pollution. If we don't quickly change our bad habits, the damage to nature could be catastrophic and become irreversible. To deal with this threat which is advancing rapidly, governments and several associations have organized themselves in order to provide better waste treatment methods, in particular by making them more accessible to the public. One thinks, for example, of recycling centres.
If you are one of the people aware of the ecological cause, we can only encourage you. On the other hand, you may be wondering if you can also recycle your stuffed animals. Unfortunately, it so happens that today most recycling centers do not accept them. This is due to several factors, including the materials with which they are made.
In other words, if you throw away your stuffed animals, chances are they will end up in nature and pollute the environment even more. Worse still, since they are generally made of fabric, cotton and plastic buttons, their total decomposition will certainly take several years (hundreds of years for plastic elements), which is why it would be totally useless to take them at the dumpster.
Components that are not biodegradable have a particularly harmful effect on the environment. Moreover, it is during the last phases of their decomposition that they become extremely dangerous. During this period, the object loses several particles which are likely to be introduced into a variety of living organisms, causing colossal damage to fauna and flora . The particles also intrude into the soil, making it less and less fertile.
While there are no obvious options for recycling lint, the damage they can do to nature is very real. It is therefore vital to find effective alternatives , such as giving them to professionals who may need their materials, or offering them to children around you, thus giving them a second life.
Donate your stuffed animals:
If you have been accumulating stuffed animals for several years now, you must surely have plenty of them on the shelves. You have probably also offered some to associations or children around you. That said, to make sure these freebies don't quickly turn into trash that pollutes the environment, you need to follow certain conditions.
Furthermore, while many associations actively seek to collect soft toys , they must be in good condition to be accepted. So you can't donate your old stuffed animals to them, since they are probably torn in some places.
That said, you also have the option of offering your old stuffed animals directly to the poorest. Indeed, many of the less fortunate have children and they do not hesitate to accept this kind of donation. Of course, even if you plan to part with your stuffed animals, please make sure to wash them well and make them as presentable as possible before giving them away. You can even sew them yourself, if they are torn.
Is it possible to put soft toys in the washing machine?
When you do the big cleaning, you probably also clean your stuffed animals. If you're the type to hug them often, they may need it. It is also important to remember that because of the different textures of fabric used in the design of plushes, some of them may be particularly messy. It is therefore strongly recommended to clean them. Don't forget that odors are also an important factor. You must therefore use the appropriate products so that your stuffed animals always smell good.
If you plan to donate your old stuffed animals, consider cleaning them properly to make them presentable. The cleaning operation happens to be rather nifty, but it's still quite simple. You just have to place the stuffed animals in a fabric large enough to contain them and sew it to prevent them from coming out. In this way, you can put them in your washing machine, without risking damaging the latter and even less the fluff.
That said, drying can take a long time, since stuffed animals often contain cotton, which is known to be particularly absorbent. Furthermore, it is important to note that this operation is not to be applied with just any plush. Indeed, even if it is rare, some stuffed animals can be irreversibly damaged by water. So please make sure yours can be machine washed, before you wash them. You will find the washing instructions on the label attached to the plush.
Are lint bad for the environment?
Even if we don't want to admit it, most stuffed animals are dangerous for the environment. Whether it's because of their non-biodegradable materials or the chemicals that the different brands use in their manufacture, these toys, as innocent as they seem, do indeed contribute to the pollution of our planet. On the other hand, the production of some of the materials used in the design of soft toys is sometimes also polluting and requires the combustion of fossil fuels, such as fuel oil, which releases substances dangerous for the environment and which generates more carbon.
To show you how a soft toy can actually affect the environment, let's take a simple teddy bear as an example. The latter generally consists of fabric, cotton and buttons. This is how the production of such a product takes place.
First, the company starts by producing the fabric. However, as you know, the production of textiles requires a lot of water and it also requires the use of several chemical components, some of which are highly polluting. In addition, the manufacture of textiles is particularly energy-intensive , which draws more natural resources in the world.
While the production of some materials, such as cotton, is not particularly harmful to the environment, some plush producers use plastic components.
What to do with your old stuffed animals?
As stated above, it is impossible to effectively recycle lint. On the other hand, throwing them in the trash is not a good alternative either, since soft toys contain a variety of materials that are particularly harmful to the ecosystem and the environment as a whole. Thus, it is necessary to find more ecological solutions to get rid of your old stuffed animals. Fortunately, these options exist and we present them to you here:
Create bags with your stuffed animals:
Among the most interesting options we found was using the stuffed animals to make a variety of bags . Plus, you don't need to be a sewing pro to do it. All you have to do is follow this little tutorial:
- Get scissors, straps, zippers, a spool of sewing thread and a needle. Naturally, if you have a sewing machine, the operation will be even faster.
- Remove the cotton from the inside of the stuffed animal until the stuffed animal is completely empty.
- Choose the right place for the opening in the bag and sew the zipper there. At this level, if the stuffed animal is small enough, you already have a purse.
- To make a backpack, add straps on both sides so the stuffed animal sits the right way up when you carry it on your back. Of course, this option is interesting only when the plush is large enough.
- Add buttons here and there for styling and you're done.
As for the cotton that you have removed from the plush, you can use them to stuff cushions or, as we will see here, poufs. That way you won't have to throw them in the trash.
Use the plush stuffing to create poufs:
If you often use your stuffed animals to make wallets or backpacks, remember to save the cotton that you have removed to stuff poufs. Besides, there is no need to wait until you have enough material to stuff an entire beanbag. You can use cotton from a few stuffed animals to restore your old pouf . Indeed, it is well known that after a while, poufs lose volume and it is therefore useful to stuff them more using the cotton of your old stuffed animals.
On the other hand, if you have a large quantity of cotton, after having personalized several bags for you and your children, you can create a new pouf, which you can put in your living room, for example. Moreover, you can involve your spouse and your children. The activity is friendly and it is not risky for children. If they are still too young, just make sure they stay away from scissors and needles.
Decorating ideas with old stuffed animals:
Your old stuffed animals can be useful in decorating your home. Do not hesitate to experiment in order to give life to your wildest ideas. Among the decoration ideas that we like the most, we find the one that consists of simply piling up several stuffed animals in a jar , next to each other. You will have a jar with lots of adorable heads coming out of it. This option is interesting, because it allows you to hide the tears of your fluff, while preventing them from widening.
In the same vein, you can wrap your stuffed animals in a fabric that covers their entire body, to obtain a similar result, but unbreakable. This alternative is especially recommendable if you have turbulent children.
If you want to get rid of some of your stuffed animals because you're just running out of space, consider installing some shelving. While soft toys don't necessarily come to mind when it comes to storing decorative items, they can be particularly effective. Indeed, there are few decorative objects that can compete with your favorite stuffed animals, which relax on one of your shelves.
While it is still difficult to effectively recycle soft toys, they remain essential toys for children and loyal companions even for adults.
You now know the best recycling methods to give your stuffed animals a second life (making a bag, wallet, etc.).
Now you can extend the life of your stuffed animals while limiting the damage they can cause to the environment. Up to you !