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Green Toys At Toys R Us? Not So Fast

Posted Aug 24 2008 6:00pm

Yesterday Toys R Us announced they will be introducing a line of “green toys” on Earth Day, April 22, 2008. I wrote about that here .

Briefly, the line will consist of a variety of wooden and organic cotton and plush toys, targeting, it seems, infants and toddlers.

There is not much information out yet but, I’ll keep ya posted!

When I read the press release , duly reported by a variety of media outlets almost verbatim, I had a number of questions like…

Where’s this stuff made?

What is used to make it?

Is it Fair Trade?

The smart marketing folks over at Plan Toys, a toy company that built it’s reputation on producing green toys, of which we have a few, obviously had the same idea. Today they sent out a press release: How To Buy A Truly Green Toy .

Today's savvy toy shoppers know the color green has come a long way from being just another springtime color in the crayon box. Green is now synonymous with all that is safe for our children and the environment. Navigating through the abundance of green product claims, however, can be daunting for even the eco-enlightened consumer. The world's leading manufacturer of eco-friendly, recycled rubberwood toys since 1981, PlanToys, Inc . , offers the following tips when looking to purchase genuinely safe and environmentally sensitive toys.

Smart marketing, no? They must be shaking in their boots over there. If they aren’t careful the Green value of their products may be eroded by consumer perceptions – it says it’s green, doesn’t it?

So, Plan Toys has come out with a further list of things to consider:

Read Toy Packaging Labels Carefully: Scrutinize the manufacturer's labels on toy boxes as if you were buying for a child with an allergy. In essence, you are. Look for the language of true green toy materials such as:

-- 100% recycled woods; preservative-free and chemical free

-- Non-formaldehyde glue

-- Nontoxic, water-based paints

-- Soy based inks; Vegetable dyes

-- Organic cottons for clothing or accessories

-- Pure wool stuffing in plush

-- Natural rubber teething toys

-- Phthalate-free vinyl

-- Recyclable packaging

-- Sustainably harvested materials

Plan Toys, which produces many of their toys in Thailand is known for being a leader in the green movement. Toys R Us is known for, well, um, plastic, commercial toys, despite their brief flirtation with higher end, wooden toys with their Imaginarium line.

Since there is very little information out on the Toys R Us line yet, I can’t draw any conclusions but. I’m hoping they can answer the questions outlined above in a positive fashion. More choices for consumers can only be positive.

Well actually there is some news...some of the toys are made in China !

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