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Go Green Guide
Go Green  

With the move toward earth-friendly products and eco-friendly gifts becoming more popular year after year, toymakers specializing in eco-friendly toys have really taken off as the go green movement catches on worldwide.

While independent toy manufacturers have led the way, major nationwide toy manufacturers have jointed the bandwagon in response to growing demands by parents for environmentally safe toys made from natural, sustainable or organic materials,

What makes a toy earth-friendly?

Eco friendly toysGreen toys are those that perfectly dovetail into the "reduce, reuse, recycle" principles of environmental sustainability. (In addition, buying toys at craft fairs or neighborhood markets reduces their carbon footprint since shipping is not required.) Generally, their manufacture saves fuel, reduces greenhouse gases, and keeps usable materials from local landfills.

To that end, eco-friendy toys are also usually made of the following materials:

  • rubberwood - From trees that produce all of the world's latex rubber, rubberwood is actually a sturdy material that is a byproduct of rubber manufacturing. At one time, these trees were burned to make way for another crop after they stopped producing sap after 25-30 years. Today, instead of going up in smoke, rubberwood is used by toymakers to make toys of unusual beauty and durability.

  • bamboo - Used for centuries in China for building houses, boats and furniture, bamboo is a sustainable grass, as tall as a tree, which grows back in three years and remains a lightweight, flexible and strong material perfect for kids toy manufacturing.

  • organic cotton - Because traditional cotton farming results in the greatest use of pesticides than any other crop, choosing plush toys or dolls made of organic cotton goes a long way toward reducing the amount of pesticides that find their way into the water supply.

  • recycled materials - Toys made from commonly recycled materials range from structural plastic outdoor playsets to plush toys made from recycled yarn and other reclaimed products.

Recent health scares have also produced a public outcry against the use of lead paint or suspected harmful plastics by toymakers. Phthalates or BPA, suspected of adverse health effects in young children, has resulted in at least one US state (California) banning their use in 2009.

Eco-Friendly toy reviews and buying guides

Just up ahead, find out more about popular green toys, with first-hand reviews from our Toy Guru team, along with a collection of top resources with information on how to choose and where to buy eco-friendly toys around the Web:

Green Dollhouse

Green Dollhouse

Promising to teach a whole new generation about alternative energy, the Green Dollhouse features its own solar energy panel, rain collector and lots more cool features, with built-in lessons for kids (and parents) on what going green really means ....


Bindi Irwin Doll Outback Wildlife Rescue Doll

Bindi Irwin Doll

It seems only natural for a little girl who lives at a zoo to spread the word of animal conservation. With a Logie and an Emmy award for her work on "Bindi: The Jungle Girl" on her tree house shelf, Bindi Irwin seems to be following in her Wildlife Warrior dad's very illustrious footsteps....


Triple Action Solar Car

Triple Action Solar Car

It's model building for a whole new generation, with a kit designed to get kids' creative juices flowing. We opted to leave the car translucent because it was cool to see the inner workings. Fun, fast and educational, all you have to do is add some research on alternative fuels and ... voilà ... instant science fair project!


Push N Pull Elephant

Push n pull elephant

Crafted from sustainably harvested hard maple wood made with no added finish, the Push N Pull Elephant's brown details are added by laser, so no inks or paints are used. They are indeed a natural classic geared for years of play ....

More about eco-friendly toys around the Web:

Natural, Earth-Friendly Toys for Kids - A good resource list of online stores selling organic cotton dolls, wooden toys, science kits, educational games and more.


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