GoodGuide’s list of top green toy companies
The overwhelming choice of toys may be made easier for holiday shoppers by GoodGuide, a consumer advocate for healthy and sustainable products. After evaluating 40 leading brands of toys, GoodGuide recommended four companies as this year's greenest options, Plan, North Star, Haba, and Green Toys.
Ratings are based on Health, Environment and Society criteria. A dozen other children's products from Crayola and Lego to Sesame Street are also given a thumbs up in the categories including action figures, dolls, games, puzzles, stuffed animals, bath toys, and construction toys. The listing includes rattles and soft toys for infants to interactive educational toys for toddlers, and art, music and sports for all ages.
GoodGuide's testing includes analyzing materials for type of plastics, sources of wood, toxicity of paints and coatings. Also considered in the ratings is the companies' energy use, environmental management, health and safety programs, labor rights, and transparency.
The following toy companies "stand out for their commitment to putting the environment and child safety ahead of cost cutting," according to GoodGuide:
Plan Toys use certified, organic rubberwood (not producing latex) for its wooden toys with chemical-free kiln drying, non-formaldehyde glue, and non-toxic water-based dyes. The factory is solar powered and uses low-emission biofuels. Products made in Thailand are recognized by the Thai Environment Institute's "Green Label" for low environmental impact. Top toys include mushroom kaleidoscopes, xylophone, doll house furnishings, and adaptive toys for children with special needs. www.plantoys.com
North Star Toys are made from sustainably-managed wood or wood scraps from local cabinet makers. The 30-year-old company assembles all of its toys in a sweat-free workshop in New Mexico, USA, which runs on 100% renewable energy. Toys are finished with a food-grade mineral oil and paints are certified lead-free and nontoxic. Top toys include "rollie" cars, trucks, dinosaurs, and ducks, and animal collections. www.northstartoys.com/
Green Toys are made mostly of plastic recycled milk containers, made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that is reprocessed. An independent, third-party laboratory tests products to ensure there are no traceable amounts of phthalates or BPA. The toys have no paint and packages are recycled corrugated boxes without plastic, cellophane or twist-ties. Top toys include a recycling truck, garden kit, sand play set, and tools. www.greentoys.com
Haba Toys employs renewable energy to power its German facilities with photovoltaics and wood scrap to generate heat. The company uses water-based stains and finishes on its wooden toys utilizing an environmental management program at the factory. Most toys are made in Germany and listed on its website, with some manufacturing in China. Top toys include the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Middle Eastern building set. www.haba.de
Ratings on toys provide a list of the amount of contaminants. The California based GoodGuide examines more than 50,000 items including personal care, food, and household, with recommendations for safe, healthy and green products. The CEO, Dr. Dara O'Rourke, is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at University of California, Berkeley. www.goodguide.com
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