Is your attic full of old stuffed animals and you don't know what to do with them? Before throwing them in the trash, think about recycling!
In this article, La Pelucherie offers you original and ecological recycling ideas for your old stuffed animals.
Good reading !
Also read : How to Repair a Comforter or Plush Toy?
Why recycle old stuffed animals?
Today more than ever, experts are warning us of the dangers of pollution. Waste treatment has become an essential global cause for the sustainability of our planet.
Each year, it is estimated that more than 8 million stuffed animals reach the end of their life. But as harmless as they seem, stuffed animals are not without their impact on the environment.
It is therefore natural that the question of recycling old stuffed animals arises. What materials are they made of? Are they easily recyclable or biodegradable? Where to throw them?
Are the stuffed animals recyclable?
Unfortunately, stuffed animals are not easily recyclable . They are often made from a combination of materials such as polyester, cotton, plastics, metals (in music boxes or moving parts) and sometimes even batteries, making the recycling process particularly complex.
On the other hand, non-biodegradable materials and chemicals used by different brands (not ours!) can be particularly polluting for the environment .
Due to the mixed composition of lint and the complexity of the recycling process, they are therefore generally not accepted in conventional household recycling bins .
So where do you throw your stuffed animals?
In France, there are several eco-responsible solutions for getting rid of your old stuffed animals (those that are too worn to be donated or reused):
Textile recycling terminals
You can drop off your old stuffed animals at textile recycling stations near you.
These are collection points specially designed to collect used clothing and other textiles. These large containers are often located in public places, such as shopping malls or supermarket parking lots. Ask your town hall for more information.
When you drop off clothing or textiles at these terminals, they are then collected by recycling organizations , like Le Relais, who sort the materials.
Some items can be reused and will be donated to charities. Others can be recycled into new products. For example, worn or torn clothing, or fabric from stuffed animals can be made into insulation or wiping rags.
However, not all textile recycling terminals accept lint . It depends on the organization managing the collection and the recycling process. It is therefore important to check the list of accepted objects which is usually on the container.
If the terminal accepts old stuffed animals, remember to remove any plastic elements (eyes, noses, music boxes, etc.) before placing them there.
Some companies or organizations specialize in recycling toys and stuffed animals . This is generally rarer, but it's worth checking to see if such options exist in your area, and some organizations even accept mail-in donations.
TerraCycle , for example, is an innovative company that strives to recycle "non-recyclable" waste. They have programs for a variety of trash, including certain types of toys and stuffed animals.
The recycling center
Finally, if your stuffed toy is in very poor condition and cannot be reused or recycled, you will have to take it to the recycling center. It will be thrown into a landfill or incinerated .
This is the last resort, to be avoided if possible, due to the significant environmental impacts .
Landfills occupy large areas of land and disrupt local ecosystems. As waste decomposes, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Plus, stuffed animals often contain synthetic materials that take hundreds of years to decompose.
Incineration of stuffed animals, like other waste, also releases greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
This is why it is better to look for alternative solutions and try to recycle or reuse your old stuffed animals. And here are our best ideas!
8 ideas for recycling your old stuffed animals!
Of course, the first idea that comes to mind is to give away your stuffed animals, but that is the subject of another article that you will find here .
If you don't want to give away your stuffed animals because you are too attached to them, or if you can't because they are too damaged, here are our ideas for recycling them and transforming them into a new object, an artistic project or artisanal!
1. Create bags with your stuffed toys
Among the most interesting and original options is the plush bag! In addition, no need to be a professional seamstress: it's very easy.
- Get scissors, straps, zippers, a spool of sewing thread and a needle (or a sewing machine).
- Empty the stuffing until the plush toy is completely empty.
- Choose a location for the opening of your new bag and sew the zipper there.
- Add a shoulder strap for a handbag or straps for a backpack, and voila!
For even more recycling of your stuffed animal, use the stuffing to make cushions or poufs!
Also Read : How to Wash a Plush Toy?
2. Stuff poufs and cushions
You can use the stuffing from your stuffed animals to refurbish an old beanbag or cushion. And if you have plenty, why not make a new pouf for your living room?
3. Wall decorations and plush artwork
The most creative will enjoy their old stuffed animals. You can simply attach them to the wall in a child's bedroom for an original and personalized decoration .
Or even use them in paintings or various art projects by cutting, gluing, painting, etc. Don’t hesitate to experiment to bring your craziest ideas to life!
4. A jar of fluff heads
An idea that we love is to pile your old stuffed animals into a large transparent glass jar. A decorative object with a guaranteed effect with all its little animal heads watching you. And above all, an excellent recycling solution to honor your old stuffed animals and keep them close to you.
5. A plush lampshade
With a little work, your old childhood comforter can become a unique lampshade for your child's room (or yours!). A very fun and fairly easy creative project:
- Clean your favorite old stuffed animal and remove the stuffing.
- Make sure it's big enough to cover the lampshade frame.
- Assemble the lampshade frame following the instructions in the kit.
- Use a glue gun to glue the plush to the lampshade frame, starting at the top and working your way down.
- Trim the excess fluff and check that everything is secure.
Safety: Make sure that the plush will not come into contact with the lamp bulb to avoid the risk of fire.
6. A door guard with your old teddy bear
Making a door protector from an old stuffed toy is a great way to recycle while adding a touch of whimsy to your home decor .
- Make sure your old stuffed animal is clean and big enough to block a doorway.
- Open the plush toy and remove the stuffing.
- Use a funnel to fill the stuffed animal with a heavy material, such as sand, peas, or rice.
- Use strong thread to sew up the opening of the plush.
- Place the plush against the bottom of the door you want to block.
And There you go ! You have an original door guard and the right to keep your oldest stuffed animal with you.
To Read Also : 5 Reasons to Offer a Stuffed Animal to Your Girlfriend!
7. Make slippers!
Have you ever thought of turning your stuffed animals into slippers ? We are at the heart of recycling and upcycling!
- Choose two identical stuffed animals (or not for even more originality!), clean and large enough for your feet.
- Cut an opening in the top and remove some of the padding.
- Collect two old shoe soles in your size and insert them inside the stuffed animals.
- Attach the fluff around the soles using a hot glue gun or thread and needle, creating an opening for your foot.
There you go, you have a pair of unique, comfortable and eco-friendly slippers!
8. Make keychains!
Finally, our last idea for recycled stuffed animals is to make keychains! Use strong thread and a needle to sew the key ring to the plush toy .
You could even make jewelry or all kinds of accessories with it!
And you ? What are your ideas for recycling your old stuffed animals? Share below!