Toys are important for children’s development, and now that more kids play with their touch screen gadgets, the physical stuff becomes more important. Now, eco friendly toys are not only good for their wellbeing and education, but also for Earth. Here are some environmentally friendly children’s toys you can get.
1. The Rogue Wave’s Eco-Friendly Beach Toys
Playing at the beach is fun, that’s for sure. Kids love to play at the beach and it’s fun for us adults to play along with them as well. However, we know that generally toys are made from plastic and if it’s lost because of the waves or currents, then it’s gonna pollute the ocean eventually.
Therefore, to make beach toys more sustainable and environmentally friendly, The Rogue Wave has tried to make kids’ toys that are not only recyclable, but also compostable (in fact, it’s certified). The company’s toys are plant based, oil-free, and BPA-free. You can compost the toys in a number of places like active landfills, landfill-to-energy sites, and industrial compost facilities.
If you’re worried about the variety, you don’t need to be. There’s a beach bucket or pail with built-in grips for child-sized hands. The handle is antimicrobial, durable, and it has a nesting design. There’s also a travel-friendly sifter that lets the kids and adults find debris and plastic pollution from the sand. Shovel is also available, with a unique hollow-handle design and a wide mouth for wet sand.
The company stated, “Every breath we take comes from the ocean. We rely on clean oceans for oxygen, food, and life. But our choices are destroying it. Rogue Wave wants to change that.”
Rogue Wave stated that conventional plastic is the top kind of pollution in the ocean because it’s made from oil. Its extraction and refinement are among the US’s top 5 greenhouse gas emitters. Refined oil then turns into plastic that breaks down in a long, long time, and even if it does break down, it leeks chemicals into the environments and pollutes our waters and food.
Additionally, plastic is the perfect vessel and “vehicle” for a lot of bacteria and virus. So when we have a lot of these toys, we don’t have to worry too much about pollution.
2. Hape’s Solar Power Circuit Train
Kids have always been fascinated by train toys because they are indeed fun. To make things better for the environment (because batteries are not that great especially if they end up in landfills), Hape has come up with solar powered circuit train.
This toy is sustainable because it’s capable of collecting its own energy. The toy’s set engine has its own solar panel that generates electricity to power its lights. So, this toy doesn’t only entertain, but it also educates kids about how important it is to have renewable energy and eco-friendly materials for their everyday items. The trains are made from bioplastic produced from sugarcane, while the rest of the set features non-toxic paints and glues.
Moreover, the kids won’t be bored because the train set has an expansive range and not to mention fun.
3. Luke’s Toy Factory’s Eco-Friendly Toys
Luke’s Toy Factory has recently launched children’s toys that are sustainable and educational. The toys are eco friendly because they’re made from upcycled and organic products such as coconut shells, flax fiber, rice hulls, maple sawdust, and walnut shells. These materials give the toys natural colors, resilience, and durability.
Should you need more assurance, these toys were the winner of the prestigious Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award in the Preschool Category. Kids aged 3 years or older can enjoy these toys and they will help them develop motor skills and critical problem-solving skills (because of the toys’ reassembling and disassembling nature).
A Teacher’s Choice Award review stated, “The kids loved the vehicles! They loved that they were able to take them apart quickly and rebuild over and over. They even tried to invent new things. I would suggest them to other teachers because it really had their imaginations going!”
“Designed with slight wiggle room so that kids with developing motor skills are not frustrated, our trucks enable preschoolers to construct a working toy truck while encouraging the development of critical problem solving and fine-motor skills. Additionally, the trucks encourage imaginative, creative play,” stated Luke’s Toy Factory.
The company stated that they planned to make more sustainable products and expand their product line. They said that adding and binding organic fibers with plastic resin result in stronger toys. Each toy contains around 30% of fibers. And while it might look like a small amount, let’s think about the fact that the toys aren’t made from 100% plastic and instead of being incinerated, the organic materials get a second life.
LEGO’s journey to sustainable toys
We’ve built a lot of things from lego blocks, and creating something out of them is one of the most fun things to do. But we all know that these blocks or bricks are made from plastic. The hard, sturdy kind, but still plastic.
In order to reduce plastic waste, the company is trying a lot of ways to create a more sustainable type of toys. They’ve launched bricks made with plant-based plastic, derived from responsibly sourced sugar cane.
Tim Brooks, vice president of LEGO, stated, “Children and parents will not notice any difference in the quality or appearance of the new elements because plant-based polyethylene has the same properties as conventional polyethylene.”
Plant-based plastic is a step towards a bigger goal that the company made. Other than trying to incorporate plant-based plastic, the company has invested in wind power to offset the energy used in the making of its bricks, as well as using sustainable paper pulp trays in its seasonal advent calendar. LEGO hoped to ultimately make all of its toy bricks using the bioplastic as of the year 2030.
Now, even though they have a plan, LEGO faced challenges as well. The company then invested $150 million to hire scientists and fund research and development to find sustainable alternatives for their products.
So far, the Danish toy company has tested a lot of things and they said that they were still exploring several promising options even though finding the right material to hit the target was, according to them, difficult. Brooks said, “I wouldn’t stake my family on it, but we have to believe we will do it. We don’t set targets that we don’t put our weight behind.”
It’s a challenge because of the bricks’ requirements. They must click together but be easy to pull apart, keep their color and shape across a range of temperatures and be robust enough to not break when dropped. Additionally, the bricks must not biodegrade because they are intended to last decades, can’t contain any chemicals of concern and must use fewer resources.
Also, the machinery is quite needy as well. LEGO’s existing machinery needs compatible materials that it can mold. Recycled material is an option, but Lego needs large volumes with guarantees on provenance and quality.
LEGO has been trying to innovate because of their own awareness. It’s well known now that consumer cares about the environment now. We’ve all slowly ditched single-use products such as plastic bags and straws and shifted to reusables, but toys have been sort of under the radar. “We can’t say we inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow if we’re ruining the planet,” said Brooks.
Well, even though there are challenges, at least we know that the company has tried and is still trying their best to make sustainable toys for kids and adults to enjoy. What do you think of the eco-friendly toys and LEGO’s efforts?