Green Toys - Planet and play at its heart

* 5 min read


Next in the Sustainability Pioneers series Gillian includes Green Toys for embracing sustainability in every area of the business and making it part of its DNA.



As a ‘responsible’ parent, I try to do the very best for my son. When Josh was a baby, I diligently mashed up organic fruit and veg, I tried to buy him only wooden toys and we appreciated nature from a very early age but is this actually sustainable? Thankfully, most of it was apart from the wooden toys! Eventually I gave into the constant nagging for the latest plastic ‘thing’ that inevitably broke or was outgrown, if only I had discovered Green Toys a few years earlier.

Green Toys is a California-based toy manufacturer that first launched its environmentally responsible range of toys in 2008. Although the toys are plastic, they are made from 100% recycled materials with US-based manufacturing. Green Toys say that “every day is Earth Day”, it undoubtedly delivers a commitment to sustainability and playfulness as part of its DNA. This passion to do the right thing and allow our children to grow and play while being respectful to our planet should be celebrated.

It should be no surprise that there is money in the sustainability business for brands like Green Toys. We have seen Organic Baby Food rise over the last decade and according to Market Reports World, the Global Organic Baby Food Market is poised to grow at a CAGR of 11. 1% by 2024. This is mostly due to parents growing concerns with children’s heath, despite the premium placed on Organic produce. This trend is global, with North America accounting for the largest share of the organic baby food market followed closely by Europe and it’s predicted that many Asia Pacific countries will follow, including China and Indonesia.

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Image source: Unsplash - hui sang

If I were to relate the organic baby food trends to Green Toys, I would predict that its sales will continue to rise and there will likely be many more brands that emerge with a similar business model.

What Green Toys does very well is communicate its sustainability credentials in easily relatable language without detracting from the prerequisite that safety comes first.
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Green Toys describe the environmental benefits of its products as evidence that recycling can make a difference, that recycling can result in something new and tangible. In fact they say, ‘Our toys are living proof that milk jugs, just like the ones in your refrigerator and recycling bin, can ultimately end up back in your playroom. This helps close the loop for kids because they can see their own environmental efforts in action.’ No-one can argue with this when, to date, Green Toys have recycled over 74 million milk jugs to make its toys. All the plastics used to make the toys are 100% recycled, not just HDPE but also PP and LDPE.

Image source: Green Toys

As expected this doesn’t just apply to the toys but also the packaging; in 2009 Green Toys received the prestigious Greener Packaging Award. All its toys are packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard with no annoying add-ons like blister packs, twist ties or plastic wrappers and printed with minimal colour. On the rare occasion plastic is used, this is again 100% recycled content. What I love about the language used by Green Toys is that it’s relatable to all. They tell their consumers that ‘every pound of recycled milk jugs used to create a Green Toy product saves enough energy to power 3,000 AAA batteries, a TV for 3 weeks, or a laptop computer for a month’. This not only makes it real to parents but also the children. If we educated all generations now imagine what we might achieve in the future.

Green Toys are predominantly sold in the US, so manufactured, assembled and distributed all (relatively) locally therefore reducing greenhouse gases, energy and transportation while providing local employment. So, what’s not to like about these great toys made using a truly responsible business model? Honestly, there are only good things to say. It is evident that Green Toys truly believes in what it is doing, it embraces sustainability in every area of the business and it really is part of its DNA. One of Green Toys beliefs is that ‘the best way to encourage environmental change is through goods people buy and use every day’ and I couldn’t agree more. This is something we strongly promote with our clients too.

Sustainability shouldn’t be a once a year sprint to the line but an
everyday activity.
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Key takeouts:
  • Embrace sustainability: it needs to be embedded in your DNA
  • Communication is key: use relatable language to educate all generations
  • Celebrate success: shout about the difference you make to the planet
  • Be innovative: find new ways to use existing available resources responsibly
  • Balance is everything: people, planet, and profit


The Author: Gillian Garside-Wight - Sustainability Partner

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