A Different Kind of Toy Story

When used toys are donated to a thrift store or charitable institution, they are sorted into one of two categories: soft toys or hard toys. Soft toys are just that: plush animals and characters, including teddy bears and plush movie characters. Hard toys are usually small to medium sized plastic and/or resin toys. Also included in the hard toys category are soft toys that have hard parts and/or battery packs. These toys are offered for sale at deeply discounted prices. Many of them sell, but there are always some that don’t. These unsold donated toys are collected from the store’s sales floor and sent to a warehouse. Soft toys are compressed and baled. Hard toys are placed in either large boxes called gaylords or in special bags called capsacks. Gaylords and capsacks of used hard toys can weigh up to 425 lbs. Bulk used toys are then sent overseas, often to developing nations where they can be sold locally (thereby boosting local economies and providing affordable toys to thousands of children).

A Different Kind of Toy Story, a blog post by EcoGoodz, a used toy supplier in the USA

The market for childrens’ toys is massive. According to the Toy Industry Association, it is estimated that in 2014 new toy sales in the USA reached $18.11 billion, which accounts for about 20% of the global toy industry. With so many new toys flooding the market each year, what happens to the old toys?

Artist Joyce Dallal will show you. A few years ago she created a series of immense sculptures to visually demonstrate the magnitude of the toy waste epidemic. Her project, aptly titled ‘The Other Toy Story‘ is “a multi-faceted art project to investigate the impact and influence of toys on our social, psychological, and physical environment–especially, what do we do with them when we’re done playing with them?”

bulk hard toys
One of Ms. Dallal’s discarded toy sculptures


English artist Robert Bradford has done something very similar:

hard toys in bulk

Bradford, like Dallal, was inpsired by his own children’s toys. In a 2009 interview he said, “I was staring into my children’s cast-off toy boxes one day and thought they looked really beautiful. The toys made a great combination of colours, shapes, and textures all jumbled up and it gave me the idea to glue, stick, and screw them together into a new ‘being’ or ‘species’.”

Most of us won’t create art out of our children’s unwanted toys, but we can be more responsible in their disposal. One of the best places for used toys is in a donation bag, bin, or box. Your child may not want them anymore, but chances are another child will! Donating used toys is one of the most eco-friendly ways to part with your child’s outgrown and unwanted toys. Remember: Toys are not trash!





EcoGoodz is a bulk used toy supplier in the USA. In addition to used toys we supply credential clothing, mixed rags, bulk linens, purses and belts and paired used shoes. Contact us today for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!