How Green Bean Studios is helping to #BeatPlasticPollution for World Environment Day 2023
Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to the environment, contributing to Co2 emissions and harming wildlife and their habitats. With approximately 3 billion toys sold in the United States each year, and with 80% of toys ending up in landfills, incinerators, and even worse, the ocean, it's clear that toys are negatively affecting the environment. The main challenge in this industry is to develop toys that are biodegradable, non-toxic, and durable to reduce waste whilst ensuring toys are safe and long-lasting.
The theme of World Environment Day 2023 is to #BeatPlasticPollution by reminding people globally that their actions on plastic pollution matter. The awareness day helps to encourage governments and businesses to tackle plastic pollution and accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
Green Bean Studios is a brand that doesn’t just take from our planet – it gives back. Sustainability and protecting the environment are hugely important to us. Our toys, books, and games align with the Earth, and that comes through in the lessons we teach.
We want kids to feel the same wonder we do about the world around us. We’re all connected to nature and we’re here to show what it means to be a part of that. From the materials we produce our toys out of, to the production methods and suppliers we choose, we want to ensure we are not only protecting the planet, but improving it for future generations to love and enjoy too.
We’ve been working hard to further develop our ECO toy ranges. Having recently partnered with Lancaster University’s Centre for Global Eco-Innovation Lancaster Environment Centre, PhD students undertook research on our ECO toys to explore the strength and durability of sustainable materials from our collection, with the aim of demonstrating the viability of mass-producing high quality eco toys.
One of the best ways toy manufacturers can be more sustainable is to focus on alternatives to non-degradable materials whilst ensuring new materials are just as durable. The key aspect of whether a toy is sustainable or not, as well as the easiest aspect to look out for, is the material makeup of the toy.
This generally means avoiding plastic and using natural materials like wood, cotton, or stainless steel instead. Hemp and bamboo fibers are great alternatives to polyester/nylon units when crafting sustainable toys. These plant-based options are safe alternatives to non-degradable materials as these organic materials don’t contain toxic pesticides or dioxins. They also use far less energy than plastic during production, and often are biodegradable.
Manufacturing processes with Green Bean Studios’ existing partners use eco-friendly, sustainably sourced materials including bamboo, woods, organic cotton, recycled cotton, organic hemp, organic linen, sheep wool, Merino wool, alpaca wool, and cashmere.
By proving we can produce a large volume of high quality, durable children’s toys made using sustainable materials rather than plastic, we can help to reduce carbon emissions by only using sustainable, recyclable, or biodegradable materials in our products and packaging.
We want to promote the use of safe, durable, and degradable materials that have a low environmental impact. Through this research with Lancaster University, we have confirmed that our toys are non-toxic, long lasting, and biodegradable.
Our R&D assessment has allowed us to understand the impact of making and using our toys and how they can fit into a circular economy. We believe our products can serve as an educational tool to illustrate the importance of sustainable communities, responsible consumption and production.
Following the exciting results of this research, our next steps as a sustainable children’s brand leader pursuing B Corp certification is to carry out further studies into circular economy work. This will involve an assessment of materials at post-consumer use to recycle into new materials. We will also assess the environmental impact of these materials during formation and processing.
As part of our legacy to ensure future generations are working sustainably and helping protect the planet from further damage by plastic pollution, we will work towards developing an education plan for younger generations to understand and appreciate the footprint associated with production and use of different materials.
Find out more about our ECO ranges here:
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Melissa Brannlund is the features writer and editor, for Green Bean Studios.
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You can find Melissa's monthly features on the News & Media page, discussing children's books, toys, and games,, reading, play, early years education, and enjoying a fun and greener lifestyle.
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Children’s Toy Retailer of the Year 2021