Popper Fidget toys are the latest craze for kids of 2021, but how eco-friendly are they?

Poppers, pop-its, push poppers, bubble popz and pop fidgets – different names for the latest big kid toy craze.

Looking like a cross between an ice cube tray and a giant sheet of bubble wrap, the sensory toys fell into the mainstream thanks to Tik Tok videos and social media.

Do your kids love the new craze for fidget poppers?

Originally designed for children with anxiety or other special educational needs, who find the distraction of doing the popping movement with their fingers beneficial, poppers are now taken in the thousands by parents whose children are desperate to be part of the system. latest playground and internet trend.

But for families still reeling – literally – from the fidget spinner craze of 2018 and the incredible demand for gooey pots of stuffy slime that has spilled over into 2019 alongside many of our upholstery fabrics. , the insatiable appetite for fidget poppers continues and is without a doubt the latest staple online.

Slime making was a huge craze before the pandemic
Slime making was a huge craze before the pandemic

A quick internet search will produce hundreds of challenges and games in which players will compete against each other to see who can push and pop all their empty bubbles first, as well as slightly more cynical attempts to see if avid fans of popper can subscribe or subscribe to social media channels. and the counts are faster than it takes for the person in the video to plunge all the bubbles into their bin.

Along with a plethora of internet shopping options, department stores such as Claire’s, The Entertainer, Smyths Toys and The Works all sell a variety of weird but satisfying gadgets, priced between £ 2 and £ 6 depending on the location. cut.

High Street store Claire's says poppers and other toys like these squeeze stress balls are extremely popular
High Street store Claire’s says poppers and other toys like these squeeze stress balls are extremely popular

While wholesaler H. Grossman Ltd placed an order of just under 3 million favorites this year due to the overwhelming number of requests from stores and convenience stores keen to get their hands on wanted inventory.

The Scotland-based company said demand from retailers to sell the pocket money type toys was ‘wild’.

Fidget popper toys are available in a range of styles and colors
Fidget popper toys are available in a range of styles and colors

And just like fidget spinners, slime jars, or even cartoon-like stress relief toys, these also come in a range of heady colors and styles, potentially adding to the temptation to shop for more. of a?

There are shaped poppers molded into the silhouettes of everything from unicorns to hearts and butterflies, colorful poppers, dye swirls, rainbow patterns, camouflage print, and pop sequins alongside little ones. Keychain style poppers with just a bubble or two that little fingers can’t resist.

Glow-in-the-dark poppers are popular toys too
Glow-in-the-dark poppers are popular toys too

And if the lights ever go out at school or for the more unusual nightlight, there is a growing range of glows in dark poppers as well.

But just like the craze for loom brands, which adorned wrists and ankles with brightly colored elastic-style jewelry a few years ago that would have found its way into rivers and oceans and have become everything. Also problematic to recycle, environmentalists may soon like to appear. the bubble on this year’s trend as well.

Loom bands used to make friendship bracelets were extremely popular five to seven years ago
Loom bands used to make friendship bracelets were extremely popular five to seven years ago

Like many toys, most fidget toys are made from plastic that council refusal experts and environmental organizations agree cannot be recycled through traditional methods such as curbside pickups. .

Charity Friends of the Earth has expressed its own concerns that such rapidly changing trends mean that items, which are hugely popular one minute and fall out of fashion the next, only add to the amount of ‘ junk plastic ” on the planet.

Being made of complex materials often means that the recycling process can be too expensive and complicated for local authorities, who mostly accept waste that is made of a single material such as glass, paper, cardboard or aluminum. Instead, unwanted or broken toys that are not intended for charity collections go to household trash cans, which send the waste either to landfill or incineration.

A spokesperson for the innovative recycling organization TerraCycle explained: “Where it gets more complicated is when waste is made from a complex material or from multiple materials, as is the case. with most toys. The process of recycling these materials is complicated and expensive. and the end product is worth less than the cost of recycling the waste, so the economics just don’t work. “

Children's plastic toys are almost impossible to recycle thanks to household recycling programs
Children’s plastic toys are almost impossible to recycle thanks to household recycling programs

At the height of the LOL doll craze two years ago, TerraCycle started a recycling program for small toys and their packaging to help families dispose of them ethically.

While it does not yet have a similar option for fidget toys, families who want to recycle large amounts of plastic that no longer play can purchase a TerraCycle Toys Zero Waste box instead.

The box, available in various sizes, can be filled with waste that cannot be recycled with local advice such as non-electronic plastic toys, dolls, action figures, cards and board games, before being returned using prepaid. label attached. TerraCycle will then recycle all collected materials, saving them from landfill or incineration. You can find more details about the collection program here.

Families who keep outdated and unwanted football boots are also encouraged to recycle their items as part of a new program launched this month. Football Rebooted does not collect the shoes through free envelopes and donations from top clubs before redistributing them to young players in need of a new kit.

For more information on the big brands and the right places to enjoy a tasty bite, head to our Eat, Drink, Buy section.


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About Louis Foulds

Louis Foulds

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