Green Toys for My Family, Please!
By Lorene Foster
My dad recently came to visit our family from out of state. On the way here he stopped by the store and picked up a toy for my five-year-old son, a large orange plastic tractor-trailer truck carrying a crane on the back. My son was so excited to play with it. Within the hour pieces were falling off. Within the week the toy was totally broken and thrown away. A thoughtful gift that my dad had bought was gone, unrepairable and useless trash.
I was talking later with someone who shared how she had taken boxes of broken toys out of her son’s room to the dump, and her son never noticed. These cheap toys were so quickly broken and disposed of he didn’t care a bit. This got me thinking about the importance of buying quality, lasting products.
I think that in this time of everything’s being disposable, many of us have been careful about recycling our bottles, cans, and newspapers, but we have forgotten about all the other unnecessary “disposable products” that we buy. I am a huge bargain shopper. I am always searching for the best deals and the lowest prices, but I am slowly learning that some good deals are not the best deals in the long run. If my dad had spent a little more up front and bought a wooden truck set, or something of better and lasting quality, my son would still have something to play with, and when he was done we could pass it on to someone else. I notice when I am out at a local thrift store many vintage products that are still in good usable condition because they were well made and made to last; many of my kitchen bowls and containers were made in the 1950s and 1960s.
Many of the things I buy now are handmade and locally made. You can shop at local craft fairs, farmer’s markets, and expos. Look through the local paper and keep your eye open for ads this summer. For example, the large Green Baby Expo is coming to the Chico Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 21. Not only will you be supporting your local businesses and craftsmen, but you will be spending your money on something that will last, keeping it out of the landfill and helping to live in a more Earth-friendly way. This mind-set has taken a little bit to get used to, and maybe I don’t have as much stuff, but I enjoy having the things I do have and I know they will last.
A great added bonus is that most handmade products are much more beautiful than mass-produced things. I have read about the Mongolian people and the homes they live in. I am sure that living conditions are similar to theirs in many areas of the world, but these people live in small yurts and have very few possessions, but what they have is really beautiful. They have an intricately carved and painted door, and if they have a table and chair it is the same, ornately made with love and care. I still have a long way to go, but I am really trying to think and ask myself a couple of questions when making a purchase. Is this going to last? Do I love it? With my family I have applied this to buying cloth diapers, baby carriers, plates, cups, furniture, toys, utensils, cars, shoes, and more. I have a doll bed that my grandfather made for me when I was a child and a quilt that my great-grandmother made. I look forward to giving these things to my children, and I hope they pass them on to their children someday. I try to think of these things and the happiness they bring when I go shopping now.
Lorene Foster is the owner of Frog Mama Baby Carriers; the article was submitted by Cyndi Pereira, 530-828-9288, Info@GreenBabyExpo.com www.greenbabyexpo.com