The year is quickly coming to an end, which means it’s almost time to begin holiday shopping for your loved ones.

The year is quickly coming to an end, which means it’s almost time to begin holiday shopping for your loved ones. If you’re buying for little ones, you probably have a lot of toys on your holiday shopping list. But before you go shopping, make sure you keep these eco-friendly tips for buying and recycling toys in mind:

Donate old toys.

The holidays are the perfect time to give back to others, so why not create a new charitable tradition with your kids? Because your kids know they will be gifted with new toys, ask them to round up the toys they no longer want before the holidays. Then, take a trip as a family to local shelters, children’s hospitals, and other organizations that accept toy donations. Make sure the toys you donate do not have any missing pieces and are in decent condition, otherwise they may not be accepted. This will teach your kids to give back to those in need and find a way to reuse items instead of tossing them in the garbage.

Think quality over quantity.

When you go shopping for your little ones, prioritize the quality over the quantity of the toys you buy. Although kids may be happier if they receive dozens of little presents to open, cheap toys are more likely to break after a few uses, so they’re more wasteful. Instead, buy a few high quality toys that kids can use over and over again. If your kids get tired of playing with the same few toys, ask parents in your neighborhood if they want to create a toy swap with you so you can exchange toys with each other instead of buying new ones.

Check the material.

Try to only buy toys that are made from sustainable, recyclable materials such as wood or organic cotton. Young children can go through toys fairly quickly, so if you were to throw away every toy your child grew sick of, you would create a lot of waste. Reduce waste by buying recyclable toys this holiday season.

Made in America.

A lot of toys are made overseas and shipped into the U.S., but try to avoid buying these imported toys this holiday season. The further toys have to travel to get to store shelves, the more pollution is created in the process. So, if you only buy toys that are made in the U.S.A, you are lessening the demand for imported toys.

You can take this idea one step further by researching whether there are any toymakers in your community. Remember, the closer the toy is made to home, the more eco-friendly it is.

Buy open-ended toys.

Buy open-ended toys such as building blocks, paint supplies, or a sandbox that can be used in a variety of different ways. Kids are less likely to get tired of these toys because they can use their imagination to dream up new ways to have fun with them. This will reduce the waste your kids produce with their toys and benefit your child’s cognitive development as well.

It’s never too early to start teaching kids how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, so why not start this holiday season? After you give your children their gifts, explain why you chose each of them and how they benefit the environment.