Does your toy flash or buzz? Then it’s an electronic appliance.

Electronic toys are often not recognised as electrical appliances and then end up in the rubbish instead of the recycling. This happens to around 7.3 billion toys worldwide every year. As a result, valuable resources are lost and hazardous substances can harm people and the environment. To stop this from happening, we have listed five pointers here to help you recognise electronic toys.

Pointer 1: if something flashes, beeps, changes colour or can move at the touch of a button, then the toy contains a battery or power pack. 

Take a closer look at beeping teddy bears, music devices, talking dolls or pens, racing cars and robots – and then ask yourself: “Does the device run on a battery or power pack?”

Pointer 2: if it says “power” on the outside, there’s often power on the inside.

“Power” is a sure sign that the toy uses a power supply. In the case of toys, this is typically in the form of a battery or power pack. So, if the packaging says “power”, have a good look to see where the toy gets its power from. As you can see in the next pointer, this power may also come directly from a socket.

Pointer 3: don’t forget the accessories! If the box contains a charger, a remote control, a plug or a cable, then the toy is an electronic appliance.

This includes slot-car racing tracks, electric model railways, remote-controlled trucks, drones, planes and countless other examples. They all have a remote control or, in the case of racing tracks or model railways, are connected directly to a power supply with a cable, allowing the cars and trains to move on them.

Pointer 4: keep an eye out for displays or downloads – both are sure signs of electronics.

If a toy is programmable via a built-in display or if you first have to download an app to your smartphone or tablet to control it, then it’s an electronic appliance. This includes programmable robots as well as intricate Lego diggers you can control via your phone.

Pointer 5: “interactive learning fun” – if it sounds smart, it probably is. 

Many knowledge-based games are digital nowadays. This includes learning pens, like Tiptoi or BOOKii, as well as learning computers or tablets for budding little artists. They often work with batteries or have a USB connection and are charged via separate USB cable.

The struck-through wheelie bin symbol

If you’re still unsure whether your toy is an electronic appliance or not, check to see if it displays the struck-through wheelie bin symbol. Every electronic appliance has had to display this symbol since 2022 – to let consumers know that it needs to be disposed of separately rather than being thrown out with the rubbish.

You can find further tips on recognising electrical appliances here: How can I recognise an electrical appliance.