Quick tips: Toys & games / sustainability
What to do with old inflatables
Take a sneak peek inside any family pool fence and you’re guaranteed to see some brightly coloured inflatables.
Toys, beach balls and sun lounges bring hours of enjoyment, while flotation devices are a valuable aid in developing kids’ confidence in and around water. But these ubiquitous signs of an Aussie summer don’t always stand the test of time. If you own a pool, it’s odds-on you’ve got a few old, damaged inflatables lying around.
Unfortunately, many of these items are made from PVC, a material that is difficult to recycle, so they end up in landfill if torn or if the kids outgrow them. This doesn’t have to be the case, if you repair, reuse or repurpose.
This option is recommended for toys and leisure inflatables only, not for flotation aids and water safety devices.
The problem with many pool toys is their low initial cost, which makes it seem more economical to simply replace them when they are damaged. Before you rebuy, take a minute to assess the damage. A small hole or tear may be repaired using heavy duty gaffa tape, which is available from hardware suppliers. If this doesn’t do it, try heavy-duty inflatables repair patches designed for the purpose.
You may no longer have a need for kids’ inflatable toys, but plenty of others will. See if friends and family can extend the life of pool toys by providing a new home. Try online marketplaces as well – you probably won’t get any money for them but you will get the satisfaction of keeping them out of landfill.
As the problem with non-recyclable inflatables becomes clearer, new services are cropping up. Queensland company PLOYS is dedicated to reducing plastic waste from inflatables by repurposing into unique waterproof bags, purses and accessories. Check out their website (ploys.com.au) for more details on how to recycle. They’ve also partnered with inflatables supplier Sunnylife for its PVC Recycling Campaign, where customers provide details and receive a label for free shipping to PLOYS.