Safe, Nontoxic Toys From Recycled Milk Jugs

Children love toys, and most parents love to buy toys for their children. Unfortunately, over the last two decades, most toy manufactures have shipped their factories overseas to China in an effort to keep costs down. And product safety and accountability in China are lax at best, and high levels of lead and other toxins have been detected in imported toys. Then there’s the massive carbon footprint of a toy truck that’s traveled thousands of miles to end up on your living room floor.

Lunar, a U.S.-based design firm, realized that creating entertaining playthings didn’t need to be so complicated or expensive. They partnered with Green Toys to create an entire line of toys that are safe and sustainable for kids of all ages, and recently won a Green Dot award for innovation.

Green Toys

image via Lunar/GreenDot

Through close collaboration with the manufacturer and safety experts at Green Toys, Lunar tapped into a closed loop model utilizing 100 percent recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk jugs from the California municipal curbside recycling system. Not only is recycled HDPE being used, it means the toys can be recycled as well. The recycled HDPE used in Green Toys products meets U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for food contact. The plastic meets all state and federal requirements regulating phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Only FDA-approved colorants are added to the plastic, which comes as a relief for parents of children still in that “everything in the mouth” phase.

The block set, tugboat and stacker set designed by Lunar are seamless objects with no sharp edges or exposed fittings that could come apart in small hands. To achieve this, tweaks had to be made to the manufacturing process itself, with snaps and friction fitting of parts instead of screws. As a result, toys are more affordable to produce, and set an early example of a truly green lifestyle.


Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

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