How to Recycle Plush Toys ?

Would you like to keep your old stuffed animals and give them a second life? Would you like to know how to recycle stuffed animals?

kids Design The World is always there to help you in your search and will give you excellent advice on this subject.

Stuffed animals are still the favorite toys of children. However, there is a lot of confusion about what to do with damaged or reusable stuffed animals. On the other hand, there are ways to recycle them, but otherwise other companies collect them. Unfortunately, if they are no longer recyclable, there remains the bio-waste or in the worst case: the fire.

In this article, we will show you:
  • The characteristics of lint, the 7 essential steps and new products.
  • Lint for collection companies
  • For reusable plush and stuffed animals
  • Local shelters for recycling animal plush waste
  • Biowaste and the sad fate of discarded stuffed animals

After reading our article, you'll know how to give your stuffed animal a new life!

So let's not waste any more time, let's get to the point!



Stuffed animals are children's favorite toys and sometimes they don't want to part with them at all. Even if they are old and worn out! That's why it's very difficult for you as a parent to throw them away. Plushies have become your children's best friends or favorite toys.


What do the words "recycle stuffed animals" mean?

A stuffed animal is a textile with a feel similar to down or fur. Plush toys are very soft and cute toys for children and babies such as cuddly toys and company. For example: bunny plush, lion plush, monkey plush, dog plush or cat plush. Generally, teddy bears are recyclable waste such as plastic packaging, bottles and cartons.

There are different kinds of plush

There are many types of plush toys depending on the age of your child, and also his tastes. There is the soft toy which is ultra-soft to the touch, the musical plush and the dolls for girls. Then there are rattles for babies and children. The plush with wheels like the car or an animal plush like the tiger, the sheep or the lion for the boys.

Why would you want to recycle your children's stuffed animals?

There is no more room for their toys in your playroom or in your house. Toys that your children no longer use, are broken or outdated, become cumbersome like dirty tissues. You need to find a way to get rid of this "overflow" and protect the environment. Used lint is collected at collection points or recycling points for processing recyclable waste.


The first three essential steps to recycle lint

First: Collect the lint

First, you should collect all the stuffed animals that your children no longer need or that are worn out. They will then be very useful for recycling, but do not take the toys they are still playing with. If you don't have children, thrift stores and flea markets in your city have them. Children can receive them as gifts for their birthdays or Christmas, etc.

Second: wash those stuffed animals and then launder them

Gather all your stuffed animals and put them in the washing machine to start washing them. On the other hand, you can also add a small amount of bleach to eliminate germs. However, they are toys in your home, but that does not prevent them from being dirty. To dry, simply hang them on a string and they will dry on their own.

Third: What about the materials needed to recycle the toys?

Indeed, you would need adequate materials to recycle the stuffed toys. These materials are scissors, a needle and thread in the colors of your choice, but also pins. Then, a mesh bag of your choice as well and finally a cushion cover.

The following four steps to recycling lint

Proceed to the gutting step: What is gutting stuffed animals?

Here, it is recommended that you cut a hole in your stuffed animal and remove the stuffing. It would be best to take one stuffed animal at a time and cut it out, then remove the inside. However, it is not advisable to do this step in front of your children as it would be very misinterpreted. There are also types of stuffing that are a waste of time so in that case, move on to the next.

The filling stage

At this stage, you would be filling a mesh bag like a laundry net for example. When you fill it, don't do it all at once, but rather a little at a time. Other than that, it is good to know that less stuffing makes the plush softer.

Now it's time to sew

When it comes to sewing, it consists of sewing your net when it is both full and firm. Then you fold the top over and finally pin it down. From the moment you sew, you can also enjoy the support of your children if they like sewing. On the sewing side, in general, there aren't really any rules to follow for stitching. Don't forget your cushion cover and there you have your beautiful cushion for your bed or sofa!

New products you could make with your plush

Currently, many companies are getting into the business of making stuffed animals using completely non-biodegradable items. They are made from the use of fabrics and non-toxic recycled materials for their stuffing. Recycling of household waste and plastic packaging gives a second life to stuffed animals like plastic bottles. After the lint has been collected, the waste is sorted and can be recycled and transformed.


Children are among the most environmentally conscious creatures on the planet. This is especially noticeable during those first two years when they keep growing and changing on a daily basis. When you give them a new toy or they receive many toys, for a birthday or a party, they seem to grow so fast.



When it comes to the form of recycling stuffed animals, there are actually several ways to recycle toys. As stated earlier, the simplest and most well-known is to break down into pieces and check each piece. For a better understanding, we will give you a specific example to recycle such as a play mat.

Recycling a baby play mat

You can use the fabric base, which can be recycled with textiles, as well as the small stuffed animals. Otherwise, for the music box, you can also remove it and recycle it with other electrical and electronic devices. Apart from that, several websites also offer recycling programs that can be very useful.


Plastic toys: dolls, plush toys or animal toys

The waste collection centers will allow the recycling of stuffed animals, because this waste is recoverable like plastic packaging or household packaging. The Relais terminals are available for small stuffed animals and small toys. The waste disposal center seems then more advantageous than our domestic dustbin even if it is far away.

Recycle your little one's plush board

Like the famous Australian artist Geoffrey Ricardo, you can always recycle old stuffed animals and teddy bears. All you need to do is add a light coat of paint to it and after that, squeeze it against kraft paper. In addition, you can glue your little stuffed animals on glass jars, pots or even glasses. There you go, the work has a little personal touch and is adorable at the same time.


Recycling programs with collection days

In a new collaboration in April, Tom's of Maine is joining TerraCycle for a new toy recycling program. The registration comes with a free shipping label and you can fill up to 10 pounds of used toys. Your job would be only to drop it off and UPS with Tom's of Main and TerraCycle will handle the pickup.

Ravinia District and Ravinia Festival in Highland Park

Keeping old instruments in your closet? For instrument recycling, the Ravinia District and Ravinia Festival of Highland Park are here through June 19. They have their "Teach Play" educational program for about 75,000 people for music education. The instruments they collect will be made new again and reused for an orchestra program in Waukegan.

Chicago Textile Recycling and SWALCO

Chicago Textile Recycling recycles stuffed animals and toys, and especially clean but dry textiles. For those who would like to drop off their items, their Hillside facility is open to them. In fact, by partnering with SWALCO, which is in Lake County, they now have 20 drop-off locations. For a drop-off location near you in the county, you can visit the SWALCO website.


Stores for the resale of stuffed animals for children

It is true that most of the toys we have at home are still reusable. As children grow up, they seem to lose interest in their toys and turn to other toys. There are many resale stores for children's toys.

Charitable organizations for recycling toys

Many charities work with second hand stores. They collect your toys and sell them to earn money for their programs. Examples include Goodwill, Salvation Army, Lambs Farm and Cornerstone Community Outreach, which operate stores.

Associations are available online for collection and recycling

United Way of Lake County is looking for usable, educational toys and books to resell to needy families. On the internet, others offer wish lists through which you can donate items such as toys. There is for example Find Help Lake County and then, Zealous Good for example. Not to mention schools, religious institutions and Toy Box Connection that collect stuffed animals and other toys as well.

Stuffed animals remain the number one favorite toy for children

Among a child's toys, the largest portion usually consists of stuffed animals according to many parents, impressive! In a house, you can find either a basket, a toy box or a crib with lots of stuffed animals. On the other hand, thrift stores collect these stuffed animals in containers and ship them to other countries.

Soft toys or dolls for other children in need

ChildLink is a company that provides services to foster children in the country. However, the needs change depending on the location and the time of year, but their website might be able to tell you about it.

As for the Zacharius Center, they do not refuse new teddy bears for use in their own facility.

Local police and fire departments collect stuffed animals for children in accidents or seizures.

The existence of local shelters for recycling of animal plush waste

For people who want to ship their stuffed animals through the mail, SAFE is there to help you find locations in the United States. Whether it's regarding recycling, this also applies to military personnel located overseas. In Lake County, the Kids Corner collects stuffed animals and books for children. Specifically, it is only for children who are in the courthouse during the vacations.


Our garbage cans are extremely full these days! One third of our household waste is organic waste, and is incinerated or landfilled. In its raw state, it is recoverable and composting your bio-waste reduces your ecological footprint. For example, for a community of communes: six sorted plastic bottles is equal to one manufactured stuffed animal.


These discarded toys are made of toxic products that will disintegrate in thousands of years. On the other hand, their dangerous and very polluting fumes are very harmful for the atmosphere. In France, more than 110 000 toys are thrown away every day. Of the 3.3 million tons of French waste, 90% is incinerated or buried annually.


In fact, there are many ways to recycle stuffed animals and we have mentioned a few. However, for reusable plush animals, you can recycle them yourself or take them to collection companies.
In addition, there are also local shelters, but otherwise, for discarded plush animals, there is still biowaste or burn them. With this information, you can now recycle lint yourself.



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