Collecting and Climate Change

Last week’s global Strike For Climate (and the continuing strikes this weekend) has got me thinking more about the impact of collecting on the environment.  It’s something that crosses my mind often.  I spend a lot of time trying to reduce waste and recycle and reuse things and I often feel the well, I suppose, hypocrisy, of my collections, when consumerism and commercialism are huge factors in global warming.  Every time I walk the toy aisles lately, I feel a little sad and, I have to confess guilty, at the mountains of plastic on sale.  So, I thought this week I’d look at some possible ideas for reducing the impact of collecting dolls on the planet.

1 Stop buying new dolls

Yeah, I know it sounds a bit extreme and somewhat defeats the purpose of collecting, but it would solve a lot of problems.  I’m not likely to do it either, but perhaps we don’t have to stop altogether.  Maybe we can just reduce the number of new dolls we buy.  Perhaps it’s just a matter of defining and refining our collections, and buying just what we really love, and not everything.  There is often a rush when new dolls are released or we find new dolls on shop shelves.  But instead of thinking ‘I’ll buy them all,’ maybe we just need to take stock and ask ourselves, ‘do I really need them?’  If the heart says ‘yes,’ then by all means buy that beauty, but if it doesn’t, walk away, and be happy with what we already have.

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‘In you go.’

2 Buy second hand

Vintage collectors rejoice! It may be that you’re doing your thing to save the planet.  I often think about what would happen if, for some reason, new dolls were no longer produced.  For one thing, it would make all of our collections more valuable and sought after.  And I for one, wouldn’t be too put out, as I love collecting second hand dolls.  Ok, I would be a little bit put out, but I’d console myself by buying second hand and vintage.  It’s recycling and reusing after all, especially if you’re buying dolls from flea markets, thrift stores or tip shops. (For those who don’t know what a tip shop is, it’s a shop at the local rubbish dump site, where trash is sorted and any good items are separated and sold.)  You’re saving dolls from landfill or a life floating in our oceans, and that is a win for our planet and your collection.

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‘Oh, hello, didn’t see you there.’

3 Dispose carefully

This is, of course, the most important point of all.  Don’t throw dolls or clothes out.  Even trashed ones.  Almost everything has a value to someone.  I cringe when I hear collectors say things like, ‘Oh I had a doll like that but her hair was cut/had pen marks on her/a broken limb/whatever, so I threw it in the bin.’ Dolls can be re-rooted, limbs can be fixed and replaced.  Pen marks can be removed (in most cases).  Even if you don’t want the item in your collection, someone else might, if only for spare parts.  And artists are often looking for dolls, whole or in pieces, to use in their art.  Social media makes it easy to advertise items and find them a new home, even if you offer the item free if the person who wants it pays postage.  A new purpose can usually be found for most things.  I have a friend who does amazing things with fashions that other people call trashed.  He’ll dye the faded or yellowed pieces, remodel or repair the damaged and make something new and fantastic from something most people would consign to the bin.  It just takes a little imagination and the determination not to take the easy way out and throw things away.  And on a sombre note, make sure those who will be disposing of our collections when we’re gone, know the worth and value of them, so they can move them on responsibly.

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‘Nothing to see here, move along.’

4 Planet friendly packaging

Ok, this one is little harder, but one thing I hate is all the plastic that dolls are (mostly) packaged in.  Even the dolls that are sold in cardboard packaging (Integrity, I’m looking at you) present problems for recycling, as there are often magnetic closures, or plastic ties glued into the structure or the boxes are too difficult to breakdown for recycling.  I wish manufacturers would take more care in their packaging.  Maison Battatt, who produce the Lori and My Generation dolls have (in general) recyclable boxes and environment friendly dyes and prints, with very few plastic pieces used. I would love all doll manufacturers to follow their lead.  Maybe we, as collectors, just have to ask them.

Update: As Zendelle has mentioned in her comment below, if you sew for your dolls, thrift shops are a great source for fabrics, instead of buying new.  You can often find clothing items in otherwise expensive fabrics for a bargain price that are perfect for cutting down for dolls clothes. Check out the lingerie too, often silks and satin can be found there. Handbags are great for cutting down for belts and doll sized handbags too.

Update 2: If you buy dolls by post, hang on to that packaging material and boxes, and re-use to post or store things where you can.  If you can’t use it, again, put the word out on social media, I’m sure there’ll be someone who posts regularly who’ll be happy to take it off your hands.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please leave a comment or use the contact page at the end of the first article of this blog.

(C) Jennifer B – All content is subject to copyright and may not be re-published or reproduced without written permission.   

13 thoughts on “Collecting and Climate Change”

  1. Reblogged this on Dolls, Dolls, Dolls and commented:
    I have gone down this road myself because firstly I love vintage dolls and secondly I am finding fewer brand new ones that I like at my price point. I won’t buy them if I don’t love them.
    I like to think I have saved a few Op Shop dolls from going in the bin by cleaning them up. At least they get one more “go round”, maybe more.
    It would be nice if less plastic was used in packaging. I really liked the Mikelman habit of selling dolls in a cardboard box with the doll secured with a ribbon. I never like those plastic ties especially the ones in their heads that you have to snip without cutting hair.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I like the simpler packaging too, and the ribbon ties are nice to re-use. I loathe the ties in the dolls head. Well done in your salvaging of op shop dolls. It would be interesting to add a discreet, permanent mark on them to see if you get any boomerangs.


      1. I’ve seen a couple come in that I feel sure I’ve seen before but of course mass produced Chinese baby dolls look very similar. I like the idea of the mark. Maybe I should add my initials somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I mostly buy old dolls anyway, but I can’t claim to be doing it for environmental reasons, I just love old stuff.
    I have been guilty of #3 many times. I buy a lot of box lots and sometimes the stuff is not salable and in the trash it goes. But starting today I’m going to start a “someone else’s treasure” box, and when it’s full, I’ll post it on FB for free, and then I’ll start another one.
    I’m always shocked at the amount of packaging material that is used to make a Barbie look perfect in her box. Let’s hope Mattel and other doll manufacturers are listening.
    I had another thought the other day – instead of buying new fabric for doll clothes, I’m going to try cutting down a larger doll outfit that I don’t need, or even people sized clothes from the thrift shop. I also have a friend who makes clothes for 18″ dolls, and her scraps might be big enough for fashion sized dolls.
    Regards, Zendelle

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you enjoyed Zendelle, and glad too that my article has already encouraged change. Your ‘someone else’s treasure’ box sounds like a great idea. Thrift shops are great places to look for fabrics. You can often find clothing items in otherwise expensive fabrics for a bargain price that are perfect for cutting down for dolls. Check out the lingerie too, often silks and satins there. Handbags are great fro cutting down for belts and doll sized handbags. I might just edit to include these tips!


  3. Reblogged this on JMD's HOARD and commented:

    This is a really interesting article originally posted by Jennifer B on her All Dolled Up blog. As the title suggests, it looks at the affect of collecting on the environment and climate change, something we should all be considering.

    Jennifer makes a few suggestions on how collectors can do something to not make the problems worse, and I agree with her on many of the points, particularly in regards to not buying everything.

    Give the article a read, it’s well worth it! Also, the images contained within are great.

    Liked by 1 person

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