Ours to Protect

Ep 43 - Tipperary Toy Library

Ep 43 - Tipperary Toy Library

In this episode of Ours to Protect on Beat 102 103, Orla visits the Clonmel Repair Cafe in Co. Tipperary whose motto is "Toss it Away? No way!" and find out more about their Toy Library.

What is the Clonmel Repair Cafe?

The Clonmel Repair Café is an ongoing initiative that aims to serve the Clonmel and surrounding community by inviting people to repair and renovate their clothing, electronics, and household items.

They are a group of like-minded people who have come together to host a zero-waste shop, repair cafe, and toy library.


There is also potential to learn new skills collaboratively as members can swap tips and repair skills. The aim is to host the repair sessions in a relaxed café- style environment, where people can meet friends and learn new skills, all at once. Some people share their skills to repair electronics, clocks, and household items such as radiators, as well as sewing technicians, engineers, and so much more.

What is the Toy Library?

Fixing and mending means fewer objects go to landfills. The Toy Library in Clonmel is a hub for the circular economy where old toys can find a new home and a new lease of life.

What effect do toys have on the environment?


According to Eco Birdy, a UNEP report from 2014 said: “the toy industry belong[s] to the group that uses plastic the most intensively in products” (Source: UNEP Valuing plastics)

Plastic packaging creates a lot of waste but when we buy a bottle of water, the mass of the plastic is only about 2% of its total weight.

Plastic toys, however, are almost entirely made of hard plastic. For instance, a toy kitchen contains 5.6 kg of valuable plastic, the equivalent of 400 empty plastic water bottles.

They say that the top 5 toys at home are mainly made from plastic.


At the beginning of 2017, Eco Birdy surveyed parents who had young children. This survey confirmed that 90% of the most popular toys are made entirely of plastic.

The most frequently used plastic materials in toys were Polyethylene and Polypropylene. The majority of parents who answered the survey said that they did not know what to do with the plastic toys at the end of their product life.

Because toys are a mixture of different materials, they are mostly considered general waste. Not every container site recycles hard plastics. Toys often end up in landfills or are incinerated.

Toy Library

According to the Clonmel Toy Library, there are toy libraries worldwide but only a handful in Ireland and that’s why they decided to start one.
The toys they have are all second hand with many donations from parents. They say that many children are starting to donate their toys where they can see the positive impact of a circular economy.

Repair Cafe

The Clonmel Repair Cafe and Toy Library have a host of volunteers to help fix items for the public. They say they do it because they like fixing things and love the challenge. Some are more experienced than others, but all are safe in their practice and delighted to see an unused item such as clothes, clocks, or radiators come back to life for the next person who can find a use for them.

At times they showcase how to mend an item to people but now that the cafe has gotten so much more popular, there isn’t space to do so. To save time, they instead fix the item if they can and move on to the next fixer-upper.

You can find the dates for the next Repair Cafe and Toy Library at SuirCan Environmental.

You can bring anything to help extend it’s life and reduce waste. They are both hosted on the same dates as eachother.

To find out more visit: 

SuirCan's Environmental Facebook page.

Eco Birdy's research on plastic toys.


To listen back to our latest episode, click here.

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Ours to Protect is funded by Coimisiún na Meán with the Television Licence Fee.

This project is a partnership between Beat 102 103 and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland.

Check out Ours To Protect for more information.