Eco Toys: A Cheat Sheet on Non Toxic Toy Brands
Oct 19, 2015
There's lots of toy companies claiming to be eco friendly. As always, wading through the marketing speak to find out who really is eco friendly isn't always easy.
So we've put together a list of our favourite eco friendly toy brands to help you to choose. It'll help you wade through the greenwash and find brands of eco toys that are truly eco friendly and non toxic.
Hevea Natural Rubber Toys
We love the Hevea range, because it’s all natural and fully biodegradable at the end of the toys’ life. The brand tests for nitrosamines, and the levels are considered to be non detectable.
The ultimate in sustainable toys, Hevea eco bath toys are made of natural rubber from the Hevea brasiliensis tree. The colours are completely natural, too, made from non toxic vegetable and plant pigments, like the cute green rubber frog toy. Check out the 100% natural hevea rubber dummy in lots of different colours, too. The beautiful kawan range is all hand painted with food grade paints. The kawan range includes the lovely hevea rubber duck in soft, natural colours.
Haba is an 80 year old German toy company. They’re a sustainable company, and passed the prestigious Öko-Audit (Eco Audit) back in 1999. Their production processes are all environmentally friendly, and they use PEFC certified wood from sustainable forestry.
Haba’s eco toys are mostly made in EU, and all of their wooden educational toys are made in Germany. All toys are made with non toxic, water based paints and finishes that are solvent free. They do make some toys with plastic, and the plastic is either polypropylene or ABS, both of which are safe plastics.
Green Toys are the perfect toddler toys. They’re robust and durable, as well as safe and non toxic for kids, with no BPA, phthalates or PVC.
All Green Toys are made in California, USA, and they’re the ultimate in eco friendly toys, made from recycled materials. Green Toys are made from 100% recycled HDPE plastic from milk cartons and yoghurt containers, which has diverted almost 90 million milk jugs from landfill so far. Green Toys are coloured with food safe, mineral based colours, and even the packaging is environmentally friendly, as it’s 100% recycled and recyclable, with no plastics, cellophane or twist ties.
They make great outdoor toys for kids, and you can even throw them in the dishwasher if they get dirty. We love the Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet for indoor and outdoor play, and the Green Toys Stacking Cups would make an ideal gift for a baby.
Everearth toys are made with sustainable wood from their own 8000 hectare FSC certified forest, using beechwood and bamboo for all of their toys. They use non toxic water based paints and stains that are free of harmful chemical pollutants. The Everearth factories have independently audited environmental management and greenhouse gas certifications. They use solar energy and natural light in the factories, and have excellent recycling and waste management systems in place for their sustainable manufacturing.
These eco wooden toys are packaged in recycled and recyclable materials, they use carbon neutral shipping, and customers can plant a tree for every toy sold. This wonderful German Brand Award Winner 2019 Sustainable Brand of the Year.
PlanToys are made in Thailand, using rubberwood from latex trees that are no longer producing. They even ensure that no fertilizer is used on the trees three years before the trees are cut down, and a chemical free drying process to make sure that the wood is strong and safe. These classic wooden toys are finished with organic colour pigments and water based dyes, and all glues are formaldehyde free. Packaging is recycled paper and soy based ink.
Plan Toys also pioneered PlanWood. Along with solid wood, PlanToys uses a thermal process to turn surplus rubberwood saw dust into a non toxic material. It’s compacted under pressure, using no other heavy chemicals, and the material is super durable. It can even go in the dishwasher.
As a company, Plan Toys have a complete sustainable manufacturing ethos, and they help out the local community in Thailand where the toys are made. They’re involved in reforestation programmes, community and cultural programmes locally.
Their factories use solar energy to reduce electricity use. Plan Toys are a carbon neutral company, planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide from production. And they’re an ethical employer that meet health, safety standards and equal opportunities. They also have ISO certifications for meeting excellent environmental management standards. All in all, this is a company you can be happy to buy from!
Not least of all, the toys are amazing. They’ve got a range of wonderful baby toys, including the iconic Plan Toys baby toy car. The Plan Toys tea set is another toy that’s ideal for open ended imaginative play, and you can’t go past the musical toys, including the Plan Toys drum and xylophone.
Apple Park Toys
Using organic, sustainable and recycled materials, Apple Park makes beautiful organic baby toys. These environmentally friendly toys are made from organic cotton with sustainable GMO free corn fibre stuffing. Apple Park use AZO free, low impact dyes that are certified to GOTS organic standards, and they don’t use any flame retardants. The packaging is recycled paper, printed with soy inks.
All Apple Park toys are made in China to fair trade standards and independently certified. They’ve got certifications galore, from the Global Organic Textile Standard, American Society for Testing and Materials for Toy Safety, AZO dye free, OEKO low impact dye, ICTI certified factory Consumer Product Safety & Improvement Act and International Council of Toy Industries. They’re a member of the Organic Trade Association, encouraging global sustainability.
The whole range is cute, but we especially love the Apple Park organic farm buddies!
Hess Spielzeug began as a one man company in a garage in Germany in 1990, and now employs over 70 people in multiple factories. These classic German toys are produced using only FSC certified, sustainable native European woods like beech and maple. They’re manufactured under environmentally friendly conditions and finished using 100% non-toxic, water based paints that are saliva resistant. All metal parts are nickel free and lead free, and all the small details like strings, elastics and glues are non toxic.
Hape Toys are another German toy brand, and they’re the largest producer of wooden toys in the world. The toys are made in China, in a factory owned and controlled by Hape. Hape wooden toys are made from sustainable materials, and most of the materials are sourced in Germany, like the paints and finishes, so that the brand controls exactly what goes into their toys. Hape uses FSC certified wood and solvent free paints, as well as recycled cardboard and organic inks in their packaging.
Grimms Toys are another family owned German wooden toys company that are known for their beautiful designs and sustainable materials. They’re made in Germany and Bosnia, in small independent workshops with fair wages and ethical conditions. Grimm’s Toys are made from FSC wood from sustainably managed European forests, using alder, lime, beech and maple wood. The beautiful colours of Grimm’s wooden toys come from non toxic, water based stains and natural oils like linseed and olive oils to finish and protect them.
The main workshop in Hochdorf in Germany has green energy and solar panels, while the Bosnian workshop is heated with wood pellets from wood waste.
If you’re after Waldorf toys or Montessori toys, Grimm’s design their toys to suit those educational principles. The toys are perfect for open ended play, with endless opportunities for creativity. They’re simple wooden toys made with attention to detail and a beautiful feel, thanks to the natural materials that show off the natural wood markings.
We love the
I’m Toy uses sustainable replenished rubberwood from established plantations in Thailand, as well as natural fabrics like cotton, canvas and jute. There’s no chlorine bleaching, and the finishes are all water based and non toxic. Packaging is all recycled.
I’m Toy is an ICTI programme member, which is a certification ensuring the ethical production of toys. It ensures that workers are treated fairly and that toys are manufactured ethically. I’m Toy employees are encouraged to live a holistic, well being oriented lifestyle, and there are yoga and meditation classes provided for workers.
We love I’m Toys multifunctional educational toys, like the I’m Toy Melody Mix with ten musical toys in one great toy.
Honeysticks crayons are handmade in New Zealand from 100% natural beeswax and food grade pigments. These non toxic crayons been awarded the prestigious Oekotest ‘Very Good’ award, and are the best eco friendly crayons we could find. Honeysticks beeswax crayons don’t use paraffin or other oil derived nasties – they’re just lovely, natural non toxic crayons.
Wishbone are a fantastic company with a small but extremely impressive product offering unlike anything you've probably come across. Wishbone have revolutionalised the way your child learns to ride - with 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 bikes that teach your child how to walk, then ride, from the ages of 12 months to 5 years with one bike. Wow!
What we love:
- They promote 100% repairable products - it's not often that you see a toy company promoting less consumption.
- They're made using sustainable birch wood, non-toxic glues and finishes, and they even produce a 100% post-consumer recycled carpet with glass fibre added for strength.
- Wishbone have gone beyond the materials in their quest for sustainability. Kids grow so quickly, meaning the best you can often hope for is that your kids' toys last long enough to be passed down to their siblings, cousins or be donated. Investing in a toy that your child will cherish for up to 5 years, not to mention learn from as well, is truly at the heart of sustainability.
Keptin Jr is a Dutch company who recognise the importance for kids to have soft toys to cuddle, and set about making eco friendly products to satisfy this need. Materials used are 100% organic cotton and pure wool. Acknowledging that soft toys are cuddled and chewed on constantly, their products are designed with durability in mind.
What we love about Keptin Jr:
- This is a neat one. Though their products stay in the collection for a long time, making replacing your child's favourite cuddle toy easy, they also offer a service to reproduce a 'lost cuddle' even if it's no longer part of their current collection.
- They continually conduct research into the importance of cuddles on a child's development and wellbeing.
- Safety is placed on putting rattles inside protective casing, inside the toy which has been meticulously finished with strong stitching.
Wonderworld Toy is headquartered and manufactured in Thailand and create beautiful wooden toys from sustainable rubber wood plantations. This is because rubber wood trees in excess of 25 years of age no longer produce latex for commercial use, and are then cut down to make way for more rubber wood trees. Using rubber wood trees for their toys means that every part of the tree is put to use.
What we love about Wonderworld Toy:
- Each year, Wonderworld Toy plant one tree for every tree used to produce their toys, and that's in addition to the tree already planted by the farmer.
- Their list of awards is too many to mention.
- A special mention goes out to their Colour From Nature range, which is vegetable dyed. Carrots and marigolds produce vibrant orange and bright yellow, butterfly peas and gardenias produce rich, deep purples. What's not to love about that!
If you're looking for more great toys, check out the range at Hello Charlie.