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School climate strike in London. Photo: Jenny Matthews/In Pictures via Getty Images

From Legos to Barbies, toys are an indispensable part of childhood — and plastics are an indispensable part of the toy industry. Some parents who are part of a growing zero-waste movement are refusing to buy plastic toys.

Why it matters: The global toy industry is worth $89 billion, and many toys today are made of plastic. It makes them inexpensive but also easily disposable once children grow out of them, and they're seldom recycled.

Many parents in a popular zero-waste Facebook group — with more than 100,000 members — opt for wood, fabric or paper toys.

  • Canadian Anna Muise avoids plastic and has passed building blocks and doll accessories handmade by her grandparents on to her children.
  • Some won't accept gifts of plastic toys. “If I can return the gift, I do,” New York City parent Megan Kip-Holden tells Axios.

But the sustainable toy industry is still niche and products can be more expensive than conventional plastic toys. “I am financially comfortable enough to buy higher quality toys,” says San Jose parent Karen Nguyen, "but I can’t expect everyone to share my standards."

  • Some eco-conscious parents don’t completely shun plastic toys if they are bought secondhand.
  • They also utilize toy libraries, or toyeries, which have operated across the country since 1935.

What to watch: Parents aren’t the only ones fighting for sustainable toys. LEGO — which made $5.49 billion in revenue in 2016 — has committed to using sustainable materials in their products and packaging by 2030.

  • Tim Brooks, Vice President of Environmental Sustainability at LEGO, tells "Axios on HBO" they’ve experimented with more 200 types of material, including corn, wheat and sugarcane.
  • But they haven't found a suitable stand-in for their iconic bricks yet — currently, only 2% of their products are made of plant-based plastic.
  • Other top toy companies are focusing on their plastic packaging: Hasbro announced it would start using plant-based plastics and Mattel said it would start including How2Recycle labels, both in 2019.

Go deeper

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18, 2022. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."