When Dylan was born, I decided that there'd be no plastic toys in the house. Only wooden ones. Like the no-TV rule, this was observed more in the breaking than not. It's difficult to be politically correct when it comes to children's toys, even when you realize that many soft toys, pacifiers included, contain the possible endocrine disrupter, phthlates (which are banned in Europe but not here.) So over the years, we observe the ritualistic disposal of masses of plastic...things...which have collected in his room. Much can't be reused and less can be recycled. I suggested a moratorium on presents at his birthday party starting two years ago, particularly the inaptly named "goody bags," but this was vetoed.
Here's a creative use of discarded plastic, in this case yogurt containers. But I wonder how long such a toy would last...then back to the recycle bin. I suspect if you do a life-cycle analysis of the energy used in collecting raw materials, fabricating, distributing and discarding this toy, you would not come out ahead. From Treehugger [images from site]:
Italian designer Barro de Gast's Yo'Play yogurt packaging includes at least two life cycles--and a subtle message about recycling for those TreeHugger tots out there. After you polish off the yogurt, the light-weight cups are reborn as modular construction toys. Each cup snaps together, creating hollow light 3D shapes and figures ranging from dogs, airplanes, and dolls to castles and houses. Made of monomaterial Polystyrene, the cups are fully recyclable and come with graphical illustrations to aid the creative process. The packaging's smart design recently garnered de Gast a first prize in UNESCO and design firm Felissimo's Child’s Play Design 21 design competition.
Of course, if you want to be even more carbon-correct, you'd make your own toys yourself (or get the kids to do so,) as used to happen decades ago.