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Innovative Toys Using Recycled and Waste Materials

Every year, Recycle Week takes place across the UK from the 16-22 October with the purpose to encourage us all to recycle as much as we can, and to also consider recycling more than just what the council collects from our homes. At Timeless Toys our primary focus is "turning off the plastic tap", by reducing and rejecting plastic when we shop for children.

However, every day I see toy brands and products that are being innovative and creative in their design and use of recycled, upcycled and waste materials to address our plastic and waste problems and doing all they can to avoid virgin plastic; brands that deserve being shouted about.

So below I have curated our products in store by toy companies who epitomise Albert Einsteins words with toys that are made from recycled plastics and waste materials that would otherwise have been thrown, incinerated or burnt.

"We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive."

Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

Food Waste Product - Rice Bran Colouring Crayons

These wax colouring crayons are made with food-grade rice bran wax derived from the bran layer of Japanese rice, making them petroleum free. Recycling rice bran wax helps eliminate food waste as rice bran is typically discarded after milling the rice. Melting rice wax generates less heat than paraffin wax during production, allowing for a more comfortable environment for the factory workers too. The rice we eat as part of our meal is derived by milling the brown rice and scraping the bran layer on the rice surface. The thin surface layer that’s peeled off while milling is called the bran layer. This bran layer is further separated into rice bran oil and rice bran wax that will be used to manufacture Kitpas crayons. The rice bran layer is typically discarded after the milling process, so using it to make wax crayons gives it a second life while eliminating food waste!

Food Waste Product - Sugarcane Plant Plastic

Plastic derived from waste sugarcane is known as Green PE and lasts as long as oil based plastics meaning robust generations of play.

The sugarcane is grown as a food crop. After the sugar is extracted for food use, the waste sugarcane material is processed to create bio-ethanol and it is this bio-ethanol that is then transformed into a plastic.

Not only does this process mean oil is left in the ground, and the use of a waste food product is used rather than burned or thrown, but sugar cane absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows, and releases oxygen back into the atmosphere making it CO2 neutral to produce. Win-Win!

Hape Green Planet Explorers small world play range

Waste Sawdust Products - Plan Toys Plan Wood

Plan Toys are a multi-award winning Thailand based company. They have many accolades to their name including that they are a zero-waste factory leading them to be incredibly innovative in using waste materials including the creation of a new material called PlanWood.

PlanWood is made from 99% surplus rubberwood sawdust composed of the 2 tonnes of sawdust that accumulates from their PlanToys’ daily wooden toy production, along with organic colour pigments.

The sawdust mixture is put into high-pressure moulders which creates a high density fibre known as PlanWood. The high pressure process means that very little glue is needed to bind the sawdust together, and it doesn’t need to be treated with any heavy chemicals.

The moulding process means that PlanWood can be easily moulded into a huge range of shapes that isn’t possible with solid rubberwood and it is even waterproof making great bath toys!

Ocean Bound Waste - Green Toys

Green Toys have created a new range of bold and colourful toys made from Ocean Bound Plastic (OBP).

OBP is plastic at risk of entering the ocean in global communities that lack recycling infrastructure. Not only does this create fantastic long lasting toys but it supports the development of formal waste collection programs in critical areas. Ocean Bound Plastic is estimated to generate 80% of plastic marine litter and is defined as abandoned plastic waste located within 50km from shores where waste management is inexistent or inefficient.

Recycled Bottles - Petit Boum

Made from 100% recycled bottles and 'fired' in Barcelona, a short journey from the Petit Boum workshop in Genoa, reducing air miles for the raw materials whilst they use natural ingredients for the contents such as grains, rice, pastas, and pulses that are hand dyed.

It is estimated that an average of 35.8 million plastic bottles are used EVERY DAY in the UK, but only 19.8 million are recycled each day. Recycling plastic downgrades its quality and therefore most plastic can only be recycled twice before it is too weak to be reused again for its' original purpose. That's why quality solutions like Petit Boum that can find a long-life reuse for this material whilst it so prevalent in the food industry is so important.

Upcycled Cherry Seeds - Baby Rattles

Spanish brand Oli & Carol have released a new range of natural rubber rattle toys for babies that reuse upcycled and sterilised cherry seeds to make the rattle sound, making this range the greenest rattle on the market!

They worked with certified otorhinolaryngologists, to create the perfect sound pitch with the right number and weight of seeds, that will help babies calm down, rather than overstimulate them.

Another brand reducing food waste. Shop Oli & Carol Baby teethers

Here at Timeless Toys we provide advice about easy swaps and alternatives to plastic toys that can be chosen, via the blog and our Instagram & Facebook (@TimelessToysUK) and offer suggestions for what to do with broken and incomplete plastic toys, as well as having our high street shop to make it easy to buy plastic-free alternative toys and gifts. But as the examples above show, we are keen to champion those toy leaders doing so much to innovate and look for solutions to our climate and waste crisis and leave a better world for our children through the items we buy for them.

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