Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eco-Friendly Toys Promote Fun and Recycling

By Courtney Leiva

In the past few years popular toy retailers have been recalling their products left and right due to lead and other toxic chemicals found in the paint. Although this has left many parents unsure and uneasy as to where they can purchase their toys, these recalls have paved the way for the emergence of eco-friendly and green toy companies.

According to the New York Times, in 2007, toy retailer Mattel, the maker of popular children’s toys such as Barbie and Hot Wheels-recalled over one million of toys. The recall was based on the discovery of lead in the paint on some the company’s most popular products such as Dora the Explorer related toys.

With recalls like these many parents are turning to alternative places to purchase children’s toys. Websites like pledge to make their products from environmentally friendly, recycled materials such as recycled plastic and recycled milk jugs. Packaging of these products also comes from recycled and sustainable materials. The products are also toxin free as they contain no BPA or phthalates which is harmful to human health.

By going eco-friendly, the company has also reduced their carbon footprint. By implementing environmentally friendly materials in their products this reduces the use of fossil fuel as well as reduces green house gas emissions and improves human health as well as the health of the planet.

But how much energy does a green retailer like Green Toys save? The company states that on average every pound of recycled milk jugs used in the making of green toys saves energy equal to 3,000 AAA batteries, saves enough electricity to power a television set for 3 whole weeks, as well as saving enough electricity to keep a laptop computer running for a month.

Not only is eco-friendly toys fun but they also teaching our children about the world around us as they promote recycling-and saving energy. These toys are also more affordable than an average toy found on toy store shelves. Certain green toymakers also donate proceeds of purchases to charities. Karito Kids, a doll retailer for girls, donates 3 percent of the toys retail price to a charity of a child’s choice.

Although solar powered doll houses won’t out shine X-box video gaming systems any time soon, green toys did relatively well last Christmas (2010) season, as the prices for these products are relatively cheaper. Eco-friendly toys also had their own pavilion at the annual toy fair in New York last year, and sustainability is the theme coming up for Germany’s big toy fair this year.

Even though the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 banned lead and phthalates from children’s products, many parents do not want to take a risk. That is why many eco friendly toys are now emerging into more mainstream toy retailers such as Toys R Us.

On the company’s website, a specially designated eco-friendly section offers green toys ranging from puzzles, doll houses made from recycled cardboard, as well as eco-friendly play washing machines. Mainstream online retailers such as sell lots of eco-friendly toys made from materials such as organic fabrics and dyes made from vegetable based paints.

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