Are wooden toys biodegradable?

This blog post will answer the question, “Are wooden toys biodegradable” and cover topics like the biodegradability of wooden toys and frequently asked questions related to the topic.

Are wooden toys biodegradable?

Yes, wooden toys are biodegradable. Additionally, wooden toys are renewable and decomposable, making them not only safer for infants and toddlers but also fantastic for the environment.

Wooden toys: are they produced sustainably?

Toys made from wood are partly sustainable. Not all manufacturers manufacture their items with reclaimed wood from other sectors. However, considering the renewability of wood, these toys are not especially unsustainable.

Not all wooden toys include plastic or magnets, although some do. This will affect the biodegradability of the toy. Typically, wooden toys are painted or coated, but many manufacturers also seek eco-friendly paint & varnish.

Biodegradability of wooden toys

Wood is biodegradable, but traditional wooden toys are not. Some wooden toys incorporate magnets or plastic. If these components are not eliminated, these wooden toys are not biodegradable.

Typically, only untreated, unpolished wood is biodegradable. Tung oil, beeswax, linseed oil, & milk paint, on the other hand, are biodegradable.

Is it possible to compost wooden toys?

If the toy has a natural wood finish, it may be compostable at a commercial facility. Wood is biodegradable, but not every wooden toy is.

A product must decompose into organic matter in order to be deemed biodegradable, therefore although wood is inherently compostable, not all wooden toys are.

Compostable is wooden toys covered with milk paint or an organic varnish, such as tung oil. Other paints and varnishes are not permitted since they may emit VOCs as they decay.

Can wooden toys be recycled?

Although most wood is theoretically recyclable, wooden toys are seldom recyclable. While paper and cardboard may be placed in the recycling bin, even raw wood cannot.

These recycling facilities lack the capacity to process wood; thus, unfinished and unpainted wood items should be sent to a wood recycling plant.

Wood having paint cannot be recycled, even if the paint or varnish is milk-based or non-toxic. Wood is divided into many classes depending on its recyclability.

Grade D refers to wood that has been coated or treated, such as painted or polished wooden toys. This grade is often not recycled and is disposed of as hazardous garbage.

Sustainability of Wooden Toys

Wooden toys are not the least sustainable alternative for children’s playthings, but they are not as eco-friendly as you may originally believe. Although wood is a renewable resource, it takes a considerable amount of time to refill.

As stated above, they are seldom recyclable and may not always be composted, depending on their treatment. However, their endurance is encouraging, since they have the potential to outlast toys made of weak plastic.

How do I properly dispose of wooden toys?

If the toys are in decent shape, you may attempt to repurpose them. You may give them to a relative or friend with small children, a thrift shop, or a hospital for children.

If your wooden toys lack plastic, glue, paint, or varnish, you may submit them to a wood recycling business. Otherwise, you may toss them in your regular garbage.

A commercial composting facility may accept wooden toys provided they are painted or varnished with non-toxic, biodegradable paint or varnish and do not include plastic or magnets.

Large wood pieces will take too long to decompose in a household compost container.

Eco-friendly Brands of wooden toys

3 eco-friendly brands of wooden toys are listed below:

  • Petit Collage

Numerous Petit Collage toys are composed of recyclable materials. Additionally, plant-based inks were employed to color their items.

  • Uncle Goose 

Uncle Goose asserts that their wood is obtained responsibly. Additionally, they employ non-toxic inks & paint.

  • PlanToys

Numerous PlanToys items are constructed using recyclable materials & non-toxic paint.

Eco-Friendly Substitutes for Wooden Toys

Here are two eco-friendly substitutes for wooden toys:

  • Bamboo Toys

Bamboo has a similar feel to wood, although it grows far more quickly. It is far simpler to refill than wood.

  • Recycled Milk Jug Toys

Some businesses have chosen to offer recycled milk jug-made toys. This results in fewer trees being chopped down to make toys. Recycled toys save energy and resources since new materials are not created from the beginning.

Are Wooden Toys Environmentally Harmful?

Especially when compared to plastic toys, wooden toys are not the worst for the environment.

Plastic is a nonrenewable resource, thus soon there will be no more petroleum available to create plastic things. Plastic manufacturing is also responsible for around 5 percent of world emissions.

In addition, even when plastic toys are recyclable, the polymer can only be recycled a limited number of times, so it will ultimately be burned or dumped in landfills. Moreover, wood is a regenerative resource. It is recyclable and biodegradable.

Thus, wooden toys are often crafted from softwood woods such as birch, maple, or beech. These trees might take up to 40 years to reach harvestable maturity.

When trees are taken down, the carbon they store is released back into the environment. Therefore, while wood is renewable, it cannot be supplied rapidly.

Are wooden toys harmful?

Wood by itself is not harmful, however wooden toys are often varnished or painted. Typically, wooden toys are non-toxic, although there are exceptions.

Some varnishes and paints are hazardous. Solvent-based wood stains may release volatile organic compounds, which may contribute to air pollution and pose a health risk to children.

As young children are prone to place their toys in their mouths, wooden toy producers often use non-toxic substances.

Milk paint, which is comprised of natural colors, milk protein, chalk, limestone, & occasionally clay, was used by several companies. These are non-toxic, natural substances.

Even if the toys are not coated, they will be sprayed with varnish to avoid splinters. Typically, they are made from beeswax, tung oil, or flaxseed oil. Additionally, these varnishes are non-toxic and derived from natural materials.

Are wooden toys superior to plastic ones?

Wooden toys are superior to plastic toys since they are biodegradable.

There are also worries that youngsters may consume dangerous chemicals if the plastic toys include bisphenol A (BPA) or phthalates, which may affect hormones, raise the chance of getting cancer, and have other adverse health effects.

However, many plastic toys are already BPA- and phthalate-free for this reason. Typically, wood is more resilient than plastic. Therefore, wooden toys may be more durable than plastic ones, even if your kid drops them.

As a result, there will be less need for new toys, as parents will not need to replace them as often. It also makes it easy to give a child’s outgrown toys, since they are typically still in excellent shape.

Why are wooden toys superior to plastic?

Wooden toys are superior to plastic toys due to the following reasons:

  • More secure for your child
  • Less harmful to the environment
  • They last longer
  • Improves early education

I will now elaborate on these.

More secure for your child

When purchasing a toy, whether for your own kid or as a gift for someone else’s, “Is this toy safe?” is often one of the first thoughts that come to mind. Small, detachable pieces provide a choking danger, and if the toy breaks, the sharp plastic fragments might cause damage.

Wooden toys, on the other hand, are generally well-made, include few components that a kid may easily shatter, and are even tough for adults to damage.

This makes them a lot safer option for a kid’s toy, particularly if the youngster is less than five years old.

Less harmful to the environment

We generate around 5 million tonnes of plastic garbage annually in the United Kingdom. While the bulk of this originates from plastic bottles, it also includes broken and discarded plastic materials from other items, such as toys.

Consequently, why not reduce, reuse, and recycle? Wooden toys are a terrific method to contribute to environmental protection without exerting any effort.

By buying a wooden toy manufactured from sustainably sourced and certified wood, you are contributing to the reduction of plastic waste. 

Many wooden toys can be purchased secondhand and sanitized, so you’re recycling resources, and after they’ve served their purpose – often many generations later – they can be readily recycled since they’re constructed from natural materials.

They last longer

Children throw toys out of pushchairs & highchairs, cribs, and off the couch, thus it is preferable to have toys that can take some damage.

Plastic toys, especially if constructed of sturdy material, have the potential to shatter or, if they include a mechanical component, to malfunction – just consider all the toys from the 1990s that failed to make it! 

While wooden toys can resist children’s active play since they are composed of tougher materials, accidents can happen.

Improves early education

Wooden toys may increase children’s arithmetic, literary, spatial awareness, and problem-solving skills, according to studies. Plastic toys may give sound effects & flashing lights.

This is due to the fact that many wooden toys come in the shape of puzzles & building blocks, which require children to construct patterns or push them to innovate.

Even the simple act of stacking blocks may help youngsters improve their motor skills as they discover how gravity and other forces operate against them. This is particularly beneficial for children over the age of one.


In this post, I discussed the biodegradability of wooden toys, the environmental impacts of wooden toys, eco-friendly brands of wooden toys, and alternatives to wooden toys.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “Are wooden toys biodegradable?”

Is plastic toy not biodegradable?

No, the plastic toy is not biodegradable. Therefore, wooden toys are sometimes referred to as generational toys, since they are often handed down from generation to generation. 

Wood is a renewable resource, but plastic is nonrenewable. Plastic is not biodegradable, and we are all aware of its negative consequences on the environment.

Can wooden toys be left outside?

Wood is naturally antibacterial, making it a low-maintenance material that is less susceptible to mildew and germs than outdoor plastic toys. Typically, large wooden toys like playhouses & swing sets may be cleaned using a garden hose & spray nozzle.

Are wooden toys more environmentally friendly?

They benefit the environment more

One of the finest features of wooden toys is that they are eco-friendly. In a world plagued by climate change, pollution, and a growing carbon footprint, you may contribute to environmental protection by selecting a more sustainable alternative.

How much trash do toys generate?

Medium reports that around 80 percent of all toys wind up in a landfill. There are several reasons why outgrown children’s toys are discarded, but the primary issue is that parents don’t know what else to do with them.

Can toys for children be recycled?

Some toys may be recycled without disassembly, however, Recycle Now recommends disassembling them as much as possible, especially to remove components like batteries & battery packs. 

In addition to placing them in your green bins, you should take them to a recycling center.

Are wooden toys germ-free?

Yes, wooden toys are more sanitary than plastic toys due to the antibacterial qualities of wood, which eliminate viruses and germs. 

In addition, the porous surface of wood deprives microorganisms of the moisture they need to live. In a kind of speaking, wooden toys are self-cleaning.


Leave a Comment