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Xmas Upcycling | Planet JUNKO encourages kids to turn trash into toys this Christmas

Tue 21 Dec 2021 | 08:30 am GMT
Rob Hutchins | Products of Change Writer

Planet JUNKO is encouraging kids to turn trash into toys this Christmas

As children we’re taught not to play with our food. But what about the packaging it comes in? The eco-minded toy company, Planet JUNKO is encouraging children and families to give their Christmas packaging a second life this season by turning it all into Boxing Day entertainment. Addressing the concerns that still so much of the packaging used to store and deliver some of the UK’s biggest selling branded groceries is not full recyclable and the vast household wastage that occurs on a yearly basis around Christmas time, JUNKO has launched a campaign to encourage kids and their parents to think differently about their rubbish this season. According to the cardboard packaging company, GWP, each festive season, UK households will purchase enough card packaging to cover Big Ben 260,000 times over and will use enough wrapping paper to measure from Earth to the moon. Meanwhile, some 10 million turkeys will be purchased this year for the traditional Christmas dinner, wrapped in 3,000 tonnes of plastic – all destined for landfill. The family-owned environmentally conscious toy brand, Planet JUNKO is encouraging families to keep their Christmas circular this year, by transforming that packaging into toys. To demonstrate the quantities of waste generated and to what better use that packaging could be put, the toy firm has used a collection of popular food packaging and one of their JUNKO Zoomer kits to create their very own toy rubbish truck. Planet JUNKO’s kits allow kids to transform old boxes, juice cartons or food tubs into toys with reusable parts made from recycled plastic. “Based on the calculation that the average toy weighs 500g and that the UK’s population of children aged five to 11 totals 5.7 million, if every child made two toys a year instead of buying two cheap ones that will break and end up being thrown away, it could save 5,700 tonnes of landfill each year,” said Peter Rope, the brains behind the Planet JUNKO business. “What’s more, designing and making your own toys is way more satisfying for kids and better for their development than just getting bought new stuff.” According to a Which? report, the UK is currently recycling just 230,000 tonnes of the five million tonnes of plastic waste produced each year. Last year, the UK government exported some 1.8 millions kilos a day to other countries. “We’re not poo-pooing Christmas, but we do want to make brands and consumers more aware of the scale of the problem,” said Peter Rope. “We believe thinking creatively about waste is essential to our future, and it’s a great feeling for kids to make anything they can imagine from nothing. “We’re the perfect toy to reuse all Christmas gift packaging and encourage kids to make Boxing Day, JUNKO Day.”
Peter Rope pictured between two JUNKO kits, the Zoomer and the Water kit.
A small, family run business based in Kent, Planet JUNKO’s kits are made from recycled plastic, packaged plastic-free and are reusable. The team manufactures the product in Europe. The company launched only two years ago, but has in that time picked up national media coverage for its approach to bringing sustainability to the toy space. “We know sustainable toys are still a niche,” said Rope. “Hopefully one day they will be the norm. Many parents resign themselves to the sea of plastic toys their kids get, and no one is perfect – it’s hard to fight against it. “The good news is that awareness is growing for the need of ethical and responsible shopping, and we love that plastic-free and refill shops are starting to appear on high streets. For our part, we are focussed on making an original, quality, European made product, made from recycled material which should hopefully give years of fun.”
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