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Toymakers Tout Sustainability at NY Toy Fair

SprigEcoTruckThe top U.S. toy fair, which kicks off in New York this week (Feb. 21), will feature a “green” pavilion to showcase environmentally-friendly toys for the first time, reports Reuters.

This year’s winner for The Toy of the Year in the category of specialty toy was Captain Owen’s Dolphin Explorer Boat by Sprig Toys made with earth-friendly materials, reports The Independent.

Reyne Rice, trend specialist for the Toy Industry Association, told Reuters about 25 percent of retail buyers at last year’s American International Toy Fair wanted to see more “eco-friendly” products.

Elizabeth Komes, associate publisher of Playthings Magazine, said in the article that toys made from organic materials are safer for children and could eliminate or reduce significant testing costs.

While bigger players like Mattel and Hasbro are not leaders in the green space, they are becoming increasingly “green” in choosing their packaging material, reports Reuters.

As an example, Mattel is working to reduce the size and amount of materials used in its product packaging, increase the recycled content of its packaging, and incorporate sustainable packaging into the design of new products.

As for Hasbro, the toy maker topped the Climate Count’s survey last year on the toy industry’s actions to reduce its impact on climate change.

Some of the green highlights at this year’s show include a line of preschool products made out of biodegradable materials from WHAM-O and Sprig Toys, reports Reuters.

WHAM-O and Sprig Toys will offer a new line of battery-free preschool products under the new WHAM-O Jr. brand. The strategic partnership will leverage Sprig’s eco-friendly specialty line giving WHAM-O access to Sprig’s proprietary material Sprigwood, a child-safe, bio-composite made from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic. Sprig will showcase its Eco-Trucks, Eco Blocks and other new products targeted to girls and toddlers.

Plush toy maker Hosung, known for its miYim organic toy line, is working with anthropologist Jane Goodall to design environmentally-friendly toys, according to Reuters.

Game maker TDC Games will highlight its green puzzles that have flower seeds embedded in each piece, reports Reuters. TDC’s Green Pieces Jigsaw Puzzles are laminated with special paper that contains the seeds of various wildflowers. The pieces can be planted to grow a variety of wildflower species from evening primrose to snapdragons, which will also reduce your carbon footprint, according to a press release.

However, these toys are typically pricier because many of these raw materials are often more expensive, reports Reuters.

But Rice told AFP that a key theme at this year’s show is affordability so there will be a lot of green products under $25.

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