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Happy Baton, Hong Kong’s very first online toy library offering subscription services, is encouraging a circular economy for children’s toys. Giving parents and caretakers in Hong Kong a convenient solution to provide preloved toys to your doorstep, Happy Baton is hoping to divert toys, which are often made out of non-biodegradable petroleum plastics, from landfills and oceans.
Founded in 2019, Happy Baton encourages families to embrace a circular philosophy when it comes to children’s toys. Their platform, which is Hong Kong’s first online toy library, offers users monthly subscription rental plans for a rotation of high-quality preloved toys. Their toy library caters mostly for young children, up to 8 years of age, although they do also have games and puzzles suitable for older children in their collection, which is conveniently categorised clearly by age, attribute and type. True to their commitment to divert waste as much as possible, Happy Baton’s subscriptions are delivered in eco-friendly linen bags rather than disposable boxes or plastic packaging.
To attract more people to borrow rather than buy new, Happy Baton offers users “Happy Badges” that can be collected each time they rent, and these virtual tokens can be exchanged for donations to local non-profit Plastic Free Seas. And for every three times each child borrows, the company plants a tree on behalf of the child for reducing waste from toys. Furthermore, the platform offers a pick-up service for gently-used unwanted toys, so as to lengthen the lifespan of children’s toys as much as possible before they end up in our landfills and oceans.
Indeed, if more children borrowed their games, puzzles and toys from rental platforms and toy libraries, a huge amount of waste could be reduced. Children can get quickly bored of a single toy, and tend to want a new one as soon as they do. Plus, over time, children will eventually grow out of toys when they age. Especially since 90% of toys are made out of plastic, tossing them out contributes to ocean plastic pollution, contamination of our waterways with microplastics, and adding to our already overflowing landfills where they may never fully break down. Not to mention, plastics require fossil fuels to manufacture, generating global greenhouse gases that are driving our climate crisis.
While some parents and caretakers might frown at the idea of borrowed and reused toys due to concerns about hygiene, platforms such as Happy Baton have taken measures to address these to ensure that they are as safe as possible. Not only are all the toys in their library carefully selected for their educational value to stimulate the needs of childrens’ development, they have all been professionally sanitised with hospital-grade steaming machines to ensure that the top hygiene standards are met.
Lead image courtesy of Happy Baton.