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September 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 9




Tools:

Play Goes Green

Toys Pick Up on Consumer Preference for "Natural"


“Organic has become a very significant buzz word.” Ken Krysinski, BabyGiftStation.com
With additional reporting by Julie L. Jones

“Going green” is the catchphrase of the new millennium, and more than the auto industry is finding it profitable to “save” our planet. Ecologically minded toys and games are cropping up, putting soy into stuffed pals and letting kids power up their own toys.

CHASING A CAUSE

The stories behind environmentally friendly toys are sometimes as unique as the methods used to create them. After her family suffered a tremendous loss as the result of a non-genetic cancer, Jill Gaynor, president of Beyond Learning Inc., made an important decision in the development of her game Word Chase!

“I made sure that I produced the game so it was not only safe for the environment but safe for children, too,” she told TDmonthly Magazine. She said it's the only board game printed with soy-based inks on recycled paper. New Fish Lips Paper Designs also uses soy-based inks on its wrapping-paper products.

AS SOFT AS SOY

Soy’s place in the green movement also extends to the SOYSILK Pals line by Biltmore World Trade. The company’s plush feature SOYSILK-brand fiber made from the residue of soybeans from tofu manufacturing in a 100-percent natural process that is free of petrochemicals.

“Products that are free of fossil fuels or are made from annually renewable resources are the way of tomorrow,” assured Designer Jonelle Raffino.

Allison Croce, owner of Purple Caterpillar Creations, an online store devoted to natural parenting essentials and luxuries, offers products she’d use for her own children. “The environmental factor is a huge selling point,” she told TDmonthly. “Many parents that buy SOYSILK Pals stuffed toys come to my store looking for them by name.”

“Green" may soon be the prime attribute consumers crave.

"GREENER" AIR

Are you looking to manufacture with less of an environmental impact?

Jonti-Craft
’s Sproutz line of eco-friendly furniture, originally launched in 2002, has been re-introduced with a new material — a formaldehyde-free board made of 100-percent recycled wood — that can help buildings meet a certain “green” standard by contributing to indoor air quality, Vice President of Marketing Nick Schwarz told TDmonthly.

Green Toys Inc. is endeavouring to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with playsets constructed of bioplastic made from renewable sources, such as corn.

"We are one of the first companies to use bioplastic outside of the food service industry," Co-founder Laurie Hyman told TDmonthly. "[So] everyone involved, from resin supplier to tool maker to manufacturer, is learning about the possibilities and limitations of the material."
OFFERING UP ORGANICS

“If someone had a choice between an organic item or a regular manufactured item at relative or near-relative cost, they would probably choose the organic, especially for children,” said Ken Krysinski, co-founder of BabyGiftStation.com.

“It’s an ingrained lifestyle now,” he added, noting his reason for stocking the miYim line of toys by Hosung New York Trading Inc. “Organic has become a very significant buzz word in the minds of conscious parents who are doing everything that they can to provide the safest environment for their children.”

“We have our own process called ‘pure water wash,’” informed Vice President Petrie Hahn of Hosung. “We looked at how they used to dye Korean fabrics and updated to a modern version. We’re using plants and minerals to dye our product," yielding unique colors for each toy.

NO BATTERIES REQUIRED

On July 7, 2007, four of the top-5 best-selling toys on amazon.com required batteries — another weighty concern when it comes to the environment and landfill waste. Enter Zen Design Group and its battery-free line of kid-powered SEE Toys. SEE stands for safety, ecology and economy.

“These toys engage children on a variety of levels to teach them that green living is not only a necessity; it can be fun, too,” said President Sun Yu. The toys, scheduled to be on-shelf in late 2007, feature a power crank that kids use to convert their own energy into electricity.

The industry is stepping up to do its part; however, more energy must be put toward educating consumers on available eco-friendly choices. What better way is there to learn than through toys?

Here are some eco-friendly toys from various companies:




Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $34.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: September 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Eco-Friendly
General Toys



This environmentally friendly tea set includes a tea pot with lid, a sugar bowl with lid, creamer, four cups, four saucers and four teaspoons. The set is constructed of bio-plastic made from renewable, sustainable resources in order to help decrease fossil-fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Starch-based bio-plastic is ultimately biodegradable. "We do our best to make environmentally friendly business decisions, given today's available technologies from product development to packaging," according to Laurie Hyman, a partner at Green Toys. Green Toys also produces all of its products in the U.S. which cuts down on transportation costs and CO2 emissions. "Green Toys products are ideal for parents looking to make environmentally conscious decisions when it comes to shopping for their children," stated Hyman. Launch date: September 2007.
— “One of my new favorite toys is the Green Toys tea set and cooking set,” said Michelle Smith of Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore., at the end of 2008.

Past Videos: ASTRA 2009
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14495      (added 8/7/2007)
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MSRP: $15.95
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



This cute and cuddly 7” bunny is one of the most popular toys in the Adopt-A-Foundling line. It is perfect for the environmentally conscious consumer, with its 100-percent organic cotton shell filled with unbleached cotton clippings. It is safe for children, thanks to embroidered eyes, and is made in the United States.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14132      (added 7/18/2007)
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MSRP: $31.95
Age Range: 0 to 3
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



All cozy in her colorful jumper, Charlotte has her eyes closed and is ready for bedtime. Her soft hands and feet provide extra comfort, along with that fluffy tummy, to make her a perfect friend for bedtime. The concept of organic refers to the creation of something that originates in nature, a pure product from the environment. Organic products eliminate unnatural herbicides and pesticides, use biodegradable and natural fertilizers, follow crop-rotation standards and soil-management procedures, undergo specific harvesting procedures and have regulated storage procedures.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8470      (added 7/5/2006)
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MSRP: $16.99
Age Range: 3 and up
SKU or Item #: 0106
Launch Date: February 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Card Games
Plush



Hairy is the star of Xeko Mission: Madagascar, the award-winning animal trading card game. This 5" hairy-eared dwarf lemur from Madagascar is made from earth-friendly organic cotton and soy-based fabric, features an 8" tail, and is roughly the size of a real hairy-eared dwarf lemur, one of the most endangered lemurs in the world. The Xeko Pals line of quality plush toys is designed to delight toy lovers while raising awareness of endangered species and raising money for global conservation efforts. Hairy is “the ‘green’ gift of the year!” Mark Gross, director of marketing for Matter Group, told TDmonthly. Launch date: February 12, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10600      (added 12/8/2006)
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MSRP: $268.30
Age Range: 0 and up
SKU or Item #: 0392JC34x
Launch Date: June 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Furniture & Decor
American-Made



This caster-mounted storage unit helps keep classrooms in harmony and promote better indoor air quality. The unit measures 48" x 15" x 29-1/2" and offers KYDZSafe edges, KYDZStrong construction and a KYDZTuff finish. It also comes with a five-year warranty. “This product is eco-friendly, as it is made from 100% recycled wood waste,” Jonti-Craft Inc. Marketing Vice President Nick Schwarz told TDmonthly. Launch date: June 15, 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14225      (added 7/20/2007)
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MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



Modeled after the loveable Labrador, this 10” plush toy is all natural and made with an organic cotton (no pesticides) shell stuffed with unbleached cotton clippings. He’s safe to pet, hug or snuggle with. The product is handcrafted in the United States.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14133      (added 7/18/2007)
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Launch Date: February 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Educational
Bath



This gift set features an Arctic duck and iceberg habitat made of phthalate-free plastic with recycled content. It includes a 7"-long x 3.5"-high King Eider Arctic Duck bath toy (available in blue and yellow); a floating "iceberg" habitat; baby-duck 100-percent pure or glycerin soap; "My Arctic 1, 2, 3" children's book; an educational coloring book; a King Eider flexible magnet tag; and a drip-dry 100-percent cotton Eco-bag (towel not sold). It’s “the only collectible bath gift designed to connect children to earth's habitats through play and educational pieces,” Founder and CEO Holly Hitzemann of Perennial Toys told TDmonthly. The company requires a minimum order of five. The toys and the coloring books are designed by Navajo artist Daryl Tom. A percentage of every purchase supports wildlife conservation efforts. Launch date: February 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 12637      (added 5/4/2007)
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MSRP: $24.95
Age Range: 2 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Plush



This 10” Cuddly Teddy Bear helps the environment. Its shell is made with organic cotton (three years of pesticide-free farming makes this certified organic cotton) and stuffed with unbleached cotton clippings. It is safe for any child thanks to the embroidered eyes. Like all Adopt-A-Foundling plush toys, this bear was handcrafted in the Green Mountain state of Virginia and is machine washable.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14134      (added 7/18/2007)
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MSRP: $39.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Puzzles & Skill
General Games



Colored sticks are threaded through the basket which serves as the game board and coordinating balls are placed inside. The object of the game is to carefully remove the colored sticks so only the colored balls of your opponent fall through. Made from eco-friendly bamboo and nontoxic paints.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11244      (added 1/24/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $28.00
Age Range: 0 to 5
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Infant & Toddler



Bobux Baby Shoes are manufactured in New Zealand. Bobux are made of all natural Eco-Leather, making them safe for babies and our environment. The Elastomatic system ensures Bobux are easy to put on and they stay on. Bobux are recommended by pediatricians, particularly for pre and early walkers, because they protect little feet without hindering their development. The natural leather allows feet to breathe, keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The suede soles offer maximum flexibility and slip-resistant protection. Bobux is available in about 70 fun styles, and the characters face the baby when worn.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9231      (added 9/5/2006)
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MSRP: $214.30
SKU or Item #: 0673JC34
Launch Date: August 2007
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Furniture & Decor
Preschool
Storage



Made from 100-percent recycled wood fiber, this natural kitchen includes a sink with a turnable faucet and sprayer and a four-burner stove. It features door-free construction and is 30" W x 15" D x 23.5” H. The product promotes better indoor air quality and may contribute up to five L.E.E.D. credits. Edgebanding is available in four colors, and the product has KYDZSafe edges, KYDZStrong construction and a KYDZTuff finish. “Parents or educators who desire to teach lessons of sustainability, recycling and good environmental practice can provide their children a practical learning setting with Sproutz furniture,” Vice President of Marketing Nick Schwarz of Jonti-Craft told TDmonthly. Launch date: August 2007.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14556      (added 8/9/2007)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
MSRP: $38.99
Age Range: 12 and up
SKU or Item #: H1L
Launch Date: November 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Board Games
Eco-Friendly
American-Made



In each round of Head1Liners, players privately write a news headline to a shared, mysterious "front-page" photo card. Straightforward journalistic attempts or satirical, funny headlines alike are equally encouraged. Headlines are read in random, anonymous order by the round's editor, and every player votes for a favorite headline (not their own). Writers move one space for each vote received. Later rounds include intentionally surprising theme assignments that often result in hilarious headlines. According to Owner Tony Kvale, Good Natured Games is the only eco-friendly board game publisher manufacturing mainstream game concepts locally within the United States. The company’s website offers a free sample round of play. Launch date: November 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14726      (added 8/16/2007)
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