Safe and Eco-Friendly Toys

Children’s toy hazards are all over the news. It seems that there’s a new danger every time we turn around. One way to avoid some of these problems (BPA, mercury, melamine, etc.) is to buy toys from companies committed to greener (and safer) practices. The Washington Post recently ran an article in their Kid’s Post section about some green toy options. I’d like to highlight the information the Post covered, and add a few green toy picks of my own.

The Washington Post article, by Margaret Webb Pressler, mentioned several areas to focus on when choosing toys for kids:

— Look at the box the toy is in. Is it made of recycled or recyclable material? Is it bigger than it needs to be? “There was a time when the big box meant value, and now the big box means waste,” said toy expert Chris Byrne.

— Look at where the toy was made. A lot of energy is used to get a toy all the way from China. When possible, look for toys made in this country.

— When a toy gets broken and needs to be thrown away, see whether all or part of it can go in the recycling bin instead of the trash can. Green Pieces puzzles by TDC Games have wildflower seeds pressed into them, so when you’re done with the puzzle, you can just plant the pieces!

— Instead of using all those AA and AAA batteries to power your remote control cars and then throwing them in the trash when they are used up, consider using rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries are widely available and can be recycled rather than pile up in a landfill.

— If you outgrow a toy and find that you’re not playing with it much anymore, give it to another child who will enjoy it. That’s the best recycling of all.

One brand discussed in this article is Green Toys. Their products are made in the United States from recycled milk jugs. They are BPA, phthalate, and lead free and meet all the toy safety standards. Below are a few of their offerings:
ecosaucer1

EcoSaucer Flying Disc: The EcoSaucer is a green spin on the classic Frisbee. Like all Green Toys products, it’s made from 100% recycled milk cartons and contains no phthalates or BPA. Even better, the packaging is completely recyclable.

sand-kit

Sand Play Set: This set is recommended for ages 3 and above. It includes a bucket, sand mold, shovel and rake.

indoor-gardening-kit

Indoor Gardening Kit: This is a great little set. My girls have it and really like it. It comes with dirt discs that expand to fill up the pots. It also includes 3 different varieties of organic seeds. My kids had a great time watching their “garden” grow.

recycle-truckdump-truck

Recycle Truck and Dump Truck: Trucks, only greener. I’m sure if these trucks actually ran, they’d have really low emissions.

I’m glad to see toys that are not only safe for our children, but made of recycled materials, too. I can’t see any downside to toys like this.inthecountry3
One other toy not referred to in the Washington Post article, but one I think deserves some attention is In the Country Learning Game. I first learned about this game from Jeremiah at ZRecommends. They tried it out with their 4 year old daughter with great results. Follow this ZRecs link to read their review.

I’d love to know if any of you have favorite green toys. If so, please let us know about them in the comments.