Rachael Simpson-Jones investigates how the toy industry is playing its part in meaningful eco friendly change and speaks to some of those leading the way.
Scrutiny on our impact on the environment continues to grow, as do the calls for meaningful change that can lessen it in the form of innovative new materials, packaging solutions and play patterns. Consumers keen to reduce their individual and familial impact on the planet via more thoughtful, responsible purchasing decisions are a growing demographic, and toys are very much part of that picture.
“It’s no secret that we are seeing increasing consumer demand for better sustainability within the toy industry,” notes David Allan, managing director, Toynamics UK & Ireland. “As customers are becoming more conscious of their eco-footprint, we’re noticing the trend for ‘quality over quantity’, with customers looking for toys they can pass down through the generations.”
A number of toy companies are opting for recycled or biobased plastics that offer all the pros of virgin without the big con, and we examine their efforts in more detail along with the many other ways that companies like Toynamics, Geomag, Vivid Goliath, Chicco, Keel Toys and Mattel, among others, are addressing sustainability topics and producing eco friendly ranges.
Global safety certification company UL tells us about its Environmental Claim Validation programme, which covers recycled and biobased content, rapidly renewable materials, zero waste to landfill and Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content, helping manufacturers prove the eco-credentials of their products.
As Ilaria Colombo, industry marketing lead at UL, explains: “Sustainability is meaningless without transparency, and transparency requires that companies share insight about what their products contain, how they are made, and what impact products may have on the community, environment and users. The landscape of green product marketing is anything but black and white: a growing number of eco-labels have made it difficult to differentiate between products that are genuinely environmentally preferable, and those that aren’t and that feed the greenwashing phenomenon.”
As well as eco friendly products, the article looks at supply chain waste and transport issues, as well as recycling initiatives.
But while all these initiatives, innovations, testing services and new materials are all very well and good, the true test of whether eco-friendly toys can hold their own in the marketplace lies with the consumer.
In the pages following this article, Toy World highlights some of the latest eco friendly toys to arrive in stores and the ways in which companies are also reducing their environmental impact behind the scenes.
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