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Where to Donate Your Used Plastic Toys in Brighton and Hove

Updated: 2 days ago

Are you lacking space for all the toys? Feeling cramped and in need of a declutter? Whether it's a spring clean, a birthday is coming, or they have simply outgrown or ignoring many of their toys, in this post we tell you where you can donate toys across Brighton & Hove as well as national schemes.

Do not throw away! 8.5 million perfectly good toys and 28 million damaged toys are thrown away each year in the UK, which is shocking and unnecessary! They end up in landfills or incinerators and turned into climate changing C0₂ emissions or end up in the ocean. Hopefully this list will give you plenty of donation options so the toys you do not need, can be given a new life elsewhere!

First check out my other blog post about How To Fix Broken & Incomplete Plastic Toys to avoid donating damaged or incomplete toys. And if you are overwhelmed about where to start in your toy declutter, we help you sort them first in our blog post Toy Decluttering & Rotation.

Where To Donate

Only donate good used children's items. Always first check what charities and organisations need before donating and that they are accepting toys and children's items at that time. Some of the organisations listed below are also keen to take good quality used baby and nursery items. Donate responsibly! If you are not local to Brighton & Hove, many of these suggestions would still be relevant, as you will have similar in your local area, closest town or city.

  1. Give to a charity shop.

  2. Sell on Marketplace, Ebay or Vinted.

  3. Have a car boot sale. Brighton Racecourse has a car boot sale every Sunday that is very child focused. People will want mostly items under a few pounds so a good way to clear the smaller pocket money items you have.

  4. Ask your local nurseries and church run toddler groups.

  5. Brighton Toy library.

  6. Brighton Toy bank.

  7. Your local children's hospital. Toys for the reception/waiting areas. In Brighton our's is the Royal Alexandra Brighton Children's Hospital. Phone the Play Team 01273 696955 ext 2509

7. Family hubs/Children's Centres. In Brighton we have 4 main Family Hubs that need toys:

  • Tarner Family Hub - Brighton

  • Whitehawk Family Hub - Brighton

  • Moulsecoomb Family Hub - Brighton

  • Hangleton Family Hub - Hove

8. Pelican Parcels. A Brighton charity supporting families in need within the city.

9. Family shelters and domestic violence refuges in your local area. Check with Women's Refuge in Brighton for what donations they need.

10. Gladrags Costumes Brighton. Costume donation

11. Gladrags Costumes Rehome it Facebook Group for textiles and costumes

12. Anglio Doorstep Collection

13. Freecycle groups

14. Freegle shop at the Brighton Open Market

15. Ollio app. This app connects neighbours and those who live nearby with each other and with local businesses so surplus items can be shared, not thrown away.

16. If you live in a neighbourhood with lots of kids, place toys outside your door in a box labelled "free toys" — they'll disappear before you know it! 

17. Encourage your children to have a stall outside their home. Turn it into a learning experience, managing change and selling items to fund something new they want.

Outside Brighton & Hove

Lego Replay Scheme. LEGO® Replay is an easy-to-use programme that helps you declutter and donate your old Lego bricks. Your donations will be transformed to provide play sets for children across the UK via schools and charities.

The Toy Project in London repurposes toys for children in the UK, as well as throughout India, Africa, and the Caribbean. They collect toys and create new sets from all the pieces, like these Playmobil figures below. They collect Playmobil figures, Duplo figures, animals, dinosaurs, wind-up toys, wooden pop-up toys, finger puppets, cars, trains and toys to fit a party theme such as aquatic animals or a jungle theme.

Toys 4 Life, a charity that focuses on recycling and reusing plastic toys. Items can be posted for recycling. There is a charge.

Other Ideas

Toy, Book and Costume Swap

Many schools and community groups run toy swaps. This is a cashless secondhand event, both big and small, formal and informal, where toys, books and costumes can be donated, and in exchange you can take items for free. If there isn't a toy swap in your area, how about organising one, even if its just amongst your friends, your street or at your school. It could be focused on World Book Day costumes, Halloween, or a pre-loved Christmas Fair Swap and are a great way to not only donate unwanted toys your kids have outgrown, but replenish the toy cupboard or source presents for free. Here in Brighton & Hove there are regular toy swaps that take place.

Regift them

Your little one might have outgrown their toys, but they might have friends, neighbours, or family who would love to play with them. My son's school and Scouts club, are often seeking unwanted items for tombola presents, fairs and Christmas campaigns. So, next time you have a clear-out, ask around and see if anyone would like to take any of your unwanted toys and put the new and unused aside for a Christmas collection.

Unwanted sand play toys are often deliberately left in the sandpit at our local children's park here, or maybe you live in an area where you have a beach toy borrow box where sand and water toys can be donated? One has been installed in nearby Lancing. The one in the photo was in Cromer, Norfolk.

How You Can Turn off the Tap

Pre-loved is great. Buying sustainably is great. Making conscious buying decisions to avoid "tat' is great. But consider the following 4 things when you buy new:

Toy Packaging

A dominant source of plastic waste, that gets thrown out immediately and is often single use, is the excessive plastic packaging. If it's a plastic toy in excessive plastic packaging, just don't buy it!

High Quality Vs Low Quality

All plastic toys will eventually end up as waste, as there is currently very limited to zero capability for recycling them at scale. So whether you buy high-quality toys or cheaply made ones, they are all going to the same waste destination. However, not all plastic is created equal. Only buy plastic toys that will last a long time in play use within your family, can be handed down or passed on through donation multiple times and will last years, not break really quickly.

Long Term Play

Peer pressure, lack of impulse control, advertising, children's shows, all significantly influence what a child thinks they WANT for a new toy. A survey by the British Heart Foundation in 2019 found the average child loses interest in a new toy in just 36 days. Whilst 1 in 5 kids get bored of the latest 'must-have' toy after less than a day. So how do you avoid this, as it's not only rubbish for the environment, but rubbish for your wallet!

Here at Timeless Toys we always recommend toys based on development, schemas and interest, but also what can be added to their favourite and well loved current toys, extending the long term play value of what they already have and love. Also consider whether a toy is too prescriptive, i.e, can it only be used in one particular way, making it interesting and exciting for only a short while, and limiting their imagination for long term play. For example, I refused to buy my son a Scalextric track one Christmas, as I knew it would become boring within weeks and end up gathering dust, abandoned in a corner. A good rule of thumb to consider before buying is '90% child, 10% toy'. This way toys fuel their imaginations for years and are repurposed through their play, and whether plastic or wooden, if designed with the intention to last a whole childhood through open play, will do so.

These blocks can be stacked but also play as boulders, walls, rocks, food, caves...

Rotate Toys

Re-ignite play with unused toys in your home through toy rotation. We share how to toy rotate in our blog post Toy Decluttering & Rotation. Those abandoned toys, could be given a new lease of life in your own home, and not need donating at all! Children can feel overwhelmed with access to a lot of toys at once, which then can reduce independent play, imagination and concentration and lead to increased sibling squabbles.

'An avalanche of toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of overwhelm'

Dr KJ Payne (Author, Simplicity Parenting)

So before you donate or dump - find missing pieces, toy rotate, check which organisations can accept what you have, repurpose, attend a toy swap, regift and most of all, turn the plastic tap off and avoid accumulating again!

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