Society is gaining a greater awareness of issues related to the environment such as climate change, isles of plastics, air pollution. The good news is that, on one side, governments are acting, for instance, implementing strategies to ban disposable plastic products, and on the other, companies as important as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever and H&M are committing to eliminate single-use non-recycled plastics in a few years. At the same time, parents are improving their understanding of the causes behind these problems, and they are looking for more long-lasting, earth-friendly products now more than ever.
HERE ARE OUR FAVOURITE ECO FRIENDLY TOYS FOR BABY
PlanToys® = Sustainable Play
PlanToys mainly focuses on safety wooden toys made of reclaimed rubber woods that enhance development for children, especially during their first five formative years when parents should encourage children to experience the freedom of playing and the proximity to nature.
Back in 1981, seven university graduates have been holding a mission to infuse the world with positive vibes. Vitool Viraponsavan, one of the main driving force established PlanToys, has been inspiring children and families over the world with steadfast determination to sustain environment and economy to the fullest through innovative toys. At present, PlanToys has branched out the philosophy with our partners in Asia, America, Europe and Australia.
With a strong mission to create a sustainable world, PlanToys thoroughly concerns about every single step of production line as well as other activities as we are wholeheartedly committed to minimising environmental impacts.
In addition, Sustainable Play is a fundamental foundation of how PlanToys nurtures creative minds bringing children to understand what nature gives back to them. We have seen the results of our efforts for four decades and know that our children will grow up with the knowledge and values to respect and preserve natural resources for future generations and make the world a better place.
The story of PlanToys is described in the three pillars of how we do our business, “Sustainable Way”. This includes Sustainable Material, Sustainable Manufacturing and Sustainable Mind.
Materials that make a difference
The toy industry uses tons and tons of plastics every year. But for the next generation of parents, in general, “Plastic is not fantastic”. There are other materials that can be used instead.
For instance, Spielwarenmesse find wonderful examples of products made with wood. In fact, Europe has an extensive tradition related to wooden toys (Haba, Brio, and a long et cetera). From baby toys (e.g. Nature collection by Saro), to building toys (e.g. Wooden fire truck stacking toy by Sebra interior), or board games (e.g. Tower of fruits by Goula), this material combined with high-quality designs and illustrations provides the quality finishes many parents are looking for nowadays.
There are other materials that are also considered more environmentally friendly than plastic and are being increasingly used in toys. For years now, bamboo has been clearly chosen in the context of sustainable toys, companies such as Hape or Janod have used it in some of their best products.
Cardboard is another option, for example the Giant cardboard brick by EDO or Badala (a name derived from the Punjabi word for “transform”), a toy that allows children to convert cardboard boxes into cars or planes using stickers that are plastic free and ecofriendly. Another great example is the Petit World Map floor puzzle by Petit Collage that is made of sturdy recycled cardboard.
Plant-based new materials
To get similar properties and finishes to plastic, there has been a great deal of innovation in the toy sector. Some well-known plastic based companies are looking into new options. For example, there are interesting toys already in the market manufactured using a plant-based material. That is the case of Viking Toys and its Ecoline Jumbo shape truck or the Swampies river raft, BiOBUDDi. Lego is also using a new plant based material made from sugar cane to include sustainable pieces in some of their boxes.
Biodegradable materials such as the one PlayMais is made of, are also a great option.
Another possibility is the use of recycled plastic. In France, the company Clip it launched building sets manufactured with 90% recycling plastic from bottle caps to the market. In the United States, Green toys, apart from all their traditional products already made with recycled plastic, is presenting OceanBound Plastic Tide Pool Set this year. The main source of recycled plastic in this new product is collected from within 50km of waterways in global communities in the USA that lack waste-collection infrastructure.
In the context of textiles, organic is the key word. Organic cotton is one of the most used materials to create environmentally friendly toys.
Non-toxic paints and dyes
And also very relevant to consider, for the use of paints and dyes the non-toxic factor is essential (e.g. Cuburo).
Transparent and respectful manufacturing process
Showing any part of your manufacturing process that is sustainable or respectful to the environment is a great strategy. Like Oli&Carol presents their process on their website where anyone can see the way their 100% Natural Rubber from Hevea Trees is obtained. In general, any sustainable measure should be promoted and emphasised.
Raising awareness with specific topics
No doubt another way to create eco-friendly toys and games is by using a related topic. Think about themes that are educational in a way that instills values and promotes awareness of specific issues that are impacting the environment. Obviously recycling is a big topic. For instance, Luke’s Toy Factory and Bruder have launched toy trucks to play picking up recycling into the market. What can be Recycled? is a board game by Learning Kids for children to learn basic concepts related to recycling different materials and waste. Another interesting game is Viva montanya by Bioviva Editions, a cooperative game in which players have to deal with the rubbish that has been thrown into the snow by finding the animals hidden under the rubbish and putting the rubbish in the proper bins before the snow melts.
Collaborations with non-profits
Some games embrace real specific issues. Minecraft launched the Coral Crafters coral-rebuilding campaign in Mexico in time for June 2018’s World Ocean Day. The company asked players to design six sculptures for new coral to be grown on that would be built in real life. Some benefits of the game were donated The Nature Conservancy.
Some non-profit organisations are actually realising the importance and impact they can make on children by selling toys and games. In 2017, the international marine conservation nonprofit Sea Shepherd launched Pollutoys, stuffed animals that teach children about ocean pollution. Through their website people can donate to support marine life.
This year, The World Wildlife Fund: WWF is launching Coral the Crab, a plush toy featured with the Pantone colour of 2019 “Coral”. With WWF Cub Club, the name of the line of wonderful toys, the organisation pursues to create awareness for endangered species. 12% of wholesale sales are donated to support the conservation efforts of the WWF organisation in the country where the product is acquired.
Toy companies are also implementing their own campaigns to help the planet. That is the case of Plan-toys, a company that represents a great example for sustainability in many ways. With the materials they use, the topics they choose, and also their campaigns to improve the environment. In concrete, they have a program to restore forests and a foundation to foster environmental minds through several activities in libraries, parks, et cetera
It is important that toys for babies and young children are not only fun to play with, and preferably stimulate child development, but are also safe. They have to meet strict safety standards. The main issue is PVC and the plasticisers and stabilisers which are added during manufacture. These toxic substances may be ingested when babies and young children chew, as they do, their plastic toys. In addition, if PVC products are disposed of and incinerated they give off dioxins which are carcinogens and can cause developmental and reproductive damage. Because of this, one group of chemicals, the phthalates, have been banned across Europe from use in toys. Greenpeace has campaigned on many aspects of toxic chemicals in toys and household goods since the 1990s and information on the various campaigns (e.g. toxic toys and the chemical home) are available by searching the Greenpeace website.
Green parents who buy wooden toys may wish to avoid tropical hardwoods if they can, and some of the suppliers stock items made from sustainably grown wood, though little information is available.
!The Green Board Game Company require their games to be fun to play, have multi-level play so that adults and children can play together on a level playing field, offer value for money, encourage knowledge of, and interest in, our world, use recycled/recyclable materials and wood from managed forests and be safe and tested to British and European safety standards.
Mulberry Bush Ltd is an established specialist mail order company, selling traditional and innovative toys, including a good range of wooden toys and games.
The Organic Toy Company specialise exclusively in toys which have a strict criteria of having certified 100% organic cotton as, at the very least, the main outer fabric. Lovely gifts for newborns and toddlers.
For first steps is about much more than just generating profits. They want to support the first years in the lives of little ones and their families. That’s why they partner with two charities and donate a dollar for every order placed.
Eco-friendly toys are on the rise
Overall, eco-friendly toys respond to an increasingly important trend that represents more sustainable and eco friendly choices for parents. This is an easy option for families to make better choices towards sustainability and become part of this ever growing phenomenon. Why not browse some of our eco friendly toys and gifts here at Eco Baby Boutique !