When buying toys for the little ones in your life your thought process probably goes like this:
“This looks cool!”
“They’re going to have a blast with this!”
“Man, toys are so much cooler today than when I was a kid.”
“Forget the kid I’m buying one for myself!”
When wandering the aisles of the toy section do you wonder which toys are made with sustainable materials? Probably rarely, if ever. While most toys can always be passed onto another kid when they outgrow it (if said toy survived the first kid), these toys are usually made from raw materials that went through the usual processes that are damaging to the environment–some even contain high amounts of lead that can harm a child.
Companies have taken note of concerns showed by parents about the current state of toys and are providing a safe, high quality, eco-friendly solution.
Luke’s Toy Factory began a Kickstarter campaign to build high-quality fire trucks made out of a hybrid type of sawdust and recycled composite plastic, manufactured in the United States (very rare for toys nowadays). To top it off the trucks are made of a 300% heavier gauge material compared to other toys – now if parents could get everything in their house made out of the stuff they’d be set!
The largest player in the US market for eco-friendly toys, Green Toys Inc., makes toys from recycled plastic milk bottles free of BPA, PVC or phthalates. The company started from humble beginnings, literally out of a garage in San Francisco in 2007. Green Toys Inc. now exports to over 90 countries, and even sells their toys in retailers including Whole Foods and Pottery Barn.
While the market for sustainable toys is pretty small and the movement towards more locally manufactured toys is in its grassroots stage, consumer demand for goods made of recycled and organic materials is growing. Hopefully one day we’ll see it develop from the niche market it is today and become embraced internationally.