Tag Archives | Green Toys

Green Teapots and Pink Cupcakes

I’m pretty confident that if every little girl was given a tea set with play food on Christmas morning – the squeals would be heard around the world. It’s one of those things you simply don’t question. Girls never tire of having pretend tea parties and after using the world’s possibly greenest set for 2 years, my Christmas pick for the younger crowd is the Green Toys tea set. Because Green Toys make their products from recycled milk jugs and manufacture their products in the US,  the eco-friendly status of this toy is wonderful…not to mention you don’t have to worry about phthalates or BPA. My girls drink from the tea cups and tea pot in the bath tub every night – it’s their nightly routine. This set has been the best toy they’ve owned and I love that it’s safe for them to mouth and drink from.

I’d like to point to an Etsy store for my ‘cupcake’ pick because I think everyone should have some handmade, uniquely handcrafted toys and gifts under their tree this year. I would love to see a decline in the profits of huge toy companies and see a boom in the sales of small companies that have gone back to the ‘safe’ way of creating toys for our children to play with. Felt is a material I’m very fond of and plan to incorporate felt food into one of the larger gifts for my girls this year. These felt play cookies and cupcakes from the Etsy store Sugar Chic Baby are next on my list to order for Christmas shopping.  They look so real!

vanilla felt cupcakes

felt chocolate sugar cookies

chocolate chunk cookie

If you have a special theme in mind for your gift ideas this year, why not try Etsy first before heading to Toys R Us or to Walmart? Think your kids that love to dress-up would appreciate a new item for their trunk?  Try going to Etsy.com and use the search field to source gifts this year. What a difference for our children’s health and the planet’s health.  Much of the plastic from packaging and products themselves would be eliminated. Not to mention we’d be supporting many moms that appreciate the extra income to handcraft these truly special items. Try it – you get a really good feeling from shopping this way.

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What You Don’t Know About Plastic Toys Made From PVC

I’ve had an epiphany of sorts over the last few months at Mommy Footprint. The last time I experienced this, I was listening to a dietitian named Jen talk ~ things started clicking together and I made changes. My sudden insight of late comes after many hours reading what the experts at EWG have to say, watching the Disappearing Male documentary, and getting many opinions from moms I trust that are focused on non-toxic households. It’s a feeling that actually saddens me because anyone that knows me is aware I love toys. Not at a normal level ~ I enjoy buying them more than my kids enjoy receiving them. I really thought this made me a good mom.

When my Mommy Footprint journey began, many things changed in our household. I began to experience a new awakening of the environment and also an understanding that I need to check products for myself before trusting that big name companies were watching out for my children. Because of financial reasons and having a house that is filled with too much ‘stuff’ I’ve been scaling back for the better part of 11 months and feel quite ashamed of my access in the last 6 years of being a parent. I’ve also realized that many things in my house are indeed toxic; cleaning supplies, personal care products, and toys. My focus with this article is toys and the important lesson for consumers that purchase toys for small children.

There is so much confusion with the terms PVC, phthalates, plasticizers, types of plastic, etc., it still has me scratching my head at times. There are a few things I’ve learned and it would have altered the course of my parenting had I known that most soft plastic toys are toxic. If you knew that a child simply mouthing a PVC plastic toy could be compared to a child sucking chemicals from a sponge wouldn’t you call poison control and find out what the effects were? Well the European Union really had a grasp of this problem back in the 1990’s and banned a lot of products that continue to be sold in Canada and the US ~ why? In 1997 Austria, France, Greece, Mexico, Norway, and Sweden all banned phthalates (one of the most common chemicals used to make plastic soft) from being used in toys.  Why is North America so much slower to react?

PVC is one of the most widely used forms of plastic, but it’s known as a human carcinogen. What would possess a toy manufacturer to use it in toys? We know that during the processing of PVC, dioxins, one of the most toxic chemicals known are created and released. Over the course of it’s lifetime, PVC plastic leaks harmful additives and because it’s not recyclable, PVC ends up being burned or sits in a landfill. Burning this plastic is very harmful because dioxins are further released (air pollution), so it most likely ends up sitting in the landfill where it further pollutes our soil.

So I’ve written about soft plastic toys previously because my children have all mouthed and bathed with soft plastic toys their entire lives. What do I know about these toys to date? The chemicals used to make these toys soft pose potential health problems with mainly reproduction and cancer. That’s not a good feeling. I’ve spoken with toy manufacturers and taking the first step would be researching toys that are ‘phthalate free’. But ~ I would go one step further and purchase PVC free toys. If you are purchasing a tubby toy or teething toy, there should not be PVC plastic anywhere near it. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at sites for non-toxic bath toys (because all my children love playing in the tub) and in all my research, I’ve managed to find only 2 brands/products I would feel 100% comfortable with: Green Toys and Boon.

Another product line I’ve talked about in the past that has been a savior with my kids is Green Toys. I can’t tell you the peace of mind I have when I watch my twins (every night) have a tea party with their Green Toys tea set. Made from recycled Becel containers, I’ve been able to rest assured that chemicals aren’t leeching from the cups, spoons, saucers, and tea pot they play with every night. My best purchase to date for my girls and they’ve just turned three!

I’ve struggled of late with plastic. You think you’ve got your mind wrapped around BPA, phthalates, PVC. etc., then something new comes along and it’s overwhelming. I wish I could zap myself back in time and change many things with my children. Understanding more about toxic products would have really helped me. I’m trying not to be really angry when I read articles published by Greenpeace about the danger of PVC and toys back in 1999. I join their fight against toxic, environmentally destructive, and dangerous toys 10 years later, where I feel like nothing has really changed. I’ve even learned that PVC hard plastic exists with many toys and wonder if Barbie is still made from PVC, like the Greenpeace website confirms. She turned 50 this year ~ I wonder if the manufactures know that there are now alternatives to traditional plastic, like corn or natural rubber.

** Side note to this article ** I did call the Vancouver Aquarium because I wanted to know how their soft PVC plastic toys were produced because of my concerns about phthalates and toxic tubby toys. The manager told me that as of Sept/08, they confirmed that their soft plastic toys were made phthalate free. This made me feel better until my friend posed the question ~ what chemical plasticizers did they use to get the PVC plastic soft? It’s just so true, they have to put some sort of checimal into hard plastic to make it soft, so my advice would be to by-pass all PVC products and stick to non-toxic alternatives.

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Sprig Toys – New Awesome Eco Toy Manufactured In Canada!

Yesterday, I had a moment where I wanted to open up the nearest window and sing ‘Oh Canada’ at the top of my lungs.  You’ll feel the same way after you learn about Sprig Toys.  The co-founders of this company had an epiphany moment after spending years as ‘toy veterans’ in the industry after realizing the environmental damage caused by how traditional toys are manufactured and packaged – not to mention they all normally require batteries to become very interactive.  They joined together with years of product knowledge and expertise and formed Sprig Toys.  Get ready to see this product line as the next ‘hot’ toy.  Although this company is based out of Colorado, they manufacture their line Sprig Adventure Series in CANADA!  How big is this?  For parents out there looking to source safe products for children and support a local footprint, this is huge.  Want some more facts before I tell you how much a child would love these toys?  I’ve picked up, felt, and smelled these products and a wonderful ordor greets your nose.  The plastic used to make this series is made from Sprigwood™ and is paint free.  The ingredients for Sprigwood™ are reclaimed plastic (margarine containers to be exact) and recycled wood.  You can actually smell the wonderful scent of the wood in the figures and vehicles.  The company’s next shipment of these toys will also include biodegradable packaging that is made from seeds. So throw the packaging into your garden and plants will grow.  This is so cool and a wonderful step for Canada to be apart of!

The Rally Racer, Baja Scout, and Discover Rig all have figures with a built in led-light in their hard helmets that are not powered by batteries, but by the push-action of the vehicles.  They connect to these vehicles via a USB port and the act of children pushing the vehicle, powers the electronic features of search lights (all three vehicles), lights and motor sound (Discover Rig), and dialogue, sound effects and songs (Discover Rig).

The Discover Rig is going to be the ‘it’ toy this Fall. You can attach a push bar (which toddlers would love) or detach and older kids can push this rig because when it moves forwards the generator fuels the lights and sounds.  The adventure guide will take your child on an expedition of the imagination with different stories using different accents when swapping characters!  Too awesome!  If you are having a hard time picturing all these different modes of this series, check out the video on the Sprig Toys site.  You can watch how children power up this eco-friendly wonder with natural kinetic energy by using the push and pump.

Picture Source: Treehugger Site

These are sure exciting times in the toy industry.  Green Toys and Sprig Toys have understood the consumer’s desire to choose from carefully designed and manufactured toys, rather than mass produced junk.

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Timing Is Everything! Safe, Non-Toxic ‘Green Toys’

Timing is everything right?  With parents concerned about plasticizers, chemicals, and just a little paranoid about their children mouthing plastic toys, along comes a company called Green Toys. Being a toy company, the words that describe their adorable product line are music to concerned parent’s ears:

“Made in the USA”
“Made from 100% recycled products”
“Contains no BPA”
“Contains no phthalates”
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