Toy companies are cutting back on plastic to reduce waste

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(CNN) – Many large toy companies are trying to become more eco-friendly after decades of relying on environmentally destructive plastic in their products and packaging.

The pandemic has created an unanticipated surge in demand for toys as parents have hunkered down with children at home, and holiday toy sales are expected to be huge this year.

Finding alternatives to plastic is crucial to tackling climate change. Both the production and discarding of plastic has had devastating effects on the planet, from greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change to clogging waterways and accumulating in oceans.

To be sure, adopting "eco-friendly" marketing is also important for companies as shoppers are increasingly conscious about how their choices affect the planet.

Here are some of the toys that will soon look and feel different as companies shift toward making products with less plastic.

Uno

Uno announced that it now has a 100% recyclable deck of cards. The company is removing cellophane from its packaging, but the cards themselves have always been recyclable. Uno plans to remove the cellophane from all of its card decks by 2021.

Lego

Lego plans to use recyclable paper for its packaging rather than single-use plastic. The company said that by 2025, all Lego packaging will be made from renewable or recycled material.

But Lego still has a major plastic problem. The Lego blocks themselves, which saw a surge in sales during the pandemic, require 90,000 metric tons of plastic a year to make.

The company has been working for years to develop alternatives to petroleum-based plastic that can be used in its blocks. Some progress has been made, but the vast majority of individual pieces are still made with plastic.

Little Tikes bikes

Little Tikes, which makes a range of toys including scooters, swings and playhouses, has released a new line of toys made from recycled plastic, packaged in recycled materials. If your Little Tikes toy gets old or damaged, you can pop it into a recycling bin and know that it'll eventually be reused in a different form, the company said. Little Tikes also said it's added a new line of "Wooden Critters" infant toys that use wood and natural materials.

Rock-a-Stack toys

Rock-a-Stacks are practically synonymous with plastic waste. The hollow, colorful plastic rings, stacked by size and color on a short pole, will be made from sugarcane-based plastics and packaged in 100% recycled or sustainably sourced material by the end of 2020.

This story was first published on CNN.com.