Today is Earth Day where we are all encouraged to look at ways we can be a little greener and kinder to our world.
As a business, I try to honour what we have been given stewardship of by:
- recycling boxes that come with toys to me. I do this by packaging orders in them and covering up any labelling so children don’t know what’s in the box when it arrives.
- recycling all the packaging that comes in orders to me, back into orders going out.
- dispatching in cardboard instead of plastic, where possible
- not buying any plastic bubble wrap but protecting the contents of orders using brown paper or cardboard (or bubble wrap that has been sent in orders to me)
- using paper tape instead of plastic tape on boxes that don’t have plastic tape already on them
- offering sustainable toy options on my website
If you want to make a conscious effort to only buy toys that are made with the earth in mind, check out these brands:
GOKI donates a new forest every year to Germany’s least wooded federal state. More than 400,000 trees have been planted by them since 2004. GOKI toys are all made from wood from sustainable European forests. They have set an ambitious and unique goal of eliminating the four plastics (PVC, PU, ABS and PS) from all their toys by 2020 (I haven’t heard if they have succeeded) and replacing them with environmentally friendly alternatives.
In all their import and export activities, Egmont Toys try to limit their impact on the environment as much as possible. They avoid air transport, they try to work with full containers, the orders are packed in recycled carton, for pallet shipments, they work with recycled euro pallets and they recycle themselves all excess carton they have. On top of being members of the recycling organisations FOST + and VALIPAC, right from the start when they are designing a new product, wherever possible they choose materials with the smallest impact on the environment. The majority of their team of collaborators cycle to work. And their newest project is to install a big sun panel on their roof, in order to be self sufficient in electricity.
Small Foot are committed to using the renewable resource of wood and avoiding plastic when possible. More and more of their toys come with the FSC mark.
Living Nature is a soft toy company that are passionate about developing more environmentally-friendly and sustainable ways to create soft toy animals. I don’t stock very many of them as the demand isn’t there yet but as people buy what I’ve got, I plan to increase my range. They use recycled post-consumer PET plastic when creating their toys. This plastic comes from used drinks bottles and other food containers.
The goal at SES is to reduce their carbon footprint every year. They are making their entire business operations CO₂-neutral by purchasing and managing European forests. They offset their full CO₂ consumption and supply 100% CO₂-neutral toys.
- Best Year Toys
This is the toy brand that I get my soft toy dinosaurs from. All the materials to make these toys are ethically sourced and the cotton used in the cotton ones is organic cotton.
- Pebble Baby Rattles
These crocheted rattles are just gorgeous. Pebble toys was initially conceived to combat poverty and to provide jobs in rural Bangladesh so that people did not have to move to Dhaka to get jobs. Providing flexible jobs in the villages has meant that parents stay with their children and play a role in the life of their village. Many of Pebble’s rural production centres are set up in conjunction with NGOs to provide an alternative to over farming/fishing in specific areas. Pebble set up rural production centres in the area offering flexible work and paid employment to people, whilst the NGOs created programmes to protect the land and allow for regeneration. The availability of paid work has meant that the people do not have to raise cash crops, they can cultivate only what they need to eat and then make additional cash through working with Pebble.
I know there is always room for improvement for most toy companies, my own included. That is why, today, I’m going to look into the possibility of sourcing clean, cardboard packing boxes from companies that dispose of them. If you know any businesses in North County Wicklow who have boxes that could be re-used, please get in touch with me and hopefully by this time next year, I’ll be able to add that to my list of efforts to make a small difference.
Happy Earth Day,