Loved Before: The Store Saving Stuffies — And the Environment

Mar 6, 2024

Thought Question: Take a look at a few of the man-made objects around you. How might they be put to a new use after they’re no longer needed where they are? 

For many, the idea of throwing away a stuffed animal is unthinkable. They’re our childhood forever friends, after all. Yet 80% of them do get tossed into a landfill at some point. Toys make up 6% of plastic waste around the globe, The Washington Post reports. The toll of all those trashed stuffies, both environmental and emotional, was more than Charlotte Liebling of London, England, could bear.   

“As somebody (who greatly likes) stuffies, I knew they had sentimental … value, and I hated to see them just thrown in a bin,” Liebling told the Post. “I was sad to learn most of them ended up at the landfill.” 

In 2019, Liebling had an idea. She believed the toys that shaped her childhood, like Soppy the stuffed dog, could provide a blueprint for how to make an impact. Thus Loved Before was born. 

Liebling bills Loved Before as a “soft-toy adoption agency.” She has opened its doors to stuffie donations of all shapes, sizes, and species. It cleans up the wayward toys. Then it resells them online. Liebling donates 50% of the profits to local charities. Make-A-Wish UK is one.

So far, patrons have embraced Loved Before like a warm, plush hug. The store sells out of stuffies almost as soon as Liebling posts pictures of the newest stock. And, yes, keeping the toys out of landfills is one highlight of her work. But Liebling contends it’s the impact at their new homes that matters most.

“They just need a little love so they can be cherished by (a new) child,” Liebling said. “Our (stuffies) help teach children the importance of giving something that’s secondhand a second chance.”

Image courtesy @lovedbefore_london on Instagram.

Question
Which of the following issues does the author highlight in the article? (Common Core RI.5.3; RI.6.3)
a. the difficulty of making new stuffed animals from materials available today
b. the challenge of keeping stuffed animals clean
c. the environmental and emotional impact of discarding stuffed animals
d. the cost of making and buying new stuffed animals
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