An adoption agency for preloved toys opens in London

In the UK, Loved Before opened a “soft toy adoption agency” to promote sustainability in the industry and give preloved toys a second life.

While working at a charity shop, the creator, Charlotte Liebling, witnessed the massive amount of toys thrown away. Her social enterprise wants to encourage people to buy pre-owned soft toys and change people’s perceptions regarding second-hand items. Indeed, she asks previous owners to provide toys' back story to add a sentimental value that brand new toys don’t possess.

The company’s meteoric success – from 20 new toys per week last year to 1,000 today – proves that people are ready to change how they consume.

Why does it matter? The plush toy market is valued at around $10 billion and grows 7% each year. However, their production requires a large amount of water and energy, and most of the time, they include petrol-based polyester. Moreover, a recent survey revealed that 50% of children are tired of a new toy after only a week and 25% of parents throw away perfectly good items that end up in a landfill.

What can we do? 

  • We can donate our unused toys to charity, schools or social enterprises like Loved Before instead of throwing them away. This simple action will not only benefit the environment but also bring joy to other people.
  • Some companies, such as LEGO or Mattel, also have toy recycling schemes.
  • Otherwise, many cities worldwide feature toy hospitals that can repair and clean the toys we want to keep and pass on to the next generation.
  • Finally, the Internet is full of DIY videos and posts that explain how to use old toys to build new furniture and decorative objects.

The relationship between a toy and its owner goes beyond the utilitarian aspect. Charlotte’s wholesome initiative enables perpetuating our memories while reducing the environmental footprint of the toy industry.

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