What is Eco-friendly anyways???

When a company says they are eco-friendly it can mean a few things. They either use materials that are sustainably sourced, are locally made so there for they are not shipped from as far away to their ultimate destination and cutting the use of carbon fuels in the process and/or they are made of post recyclable materials. Some products might also be biodegradable or have less negative effect on the earth over time. What are some of these magical materials you may be asking? Well we all know the big, bad one...plastic.

Plastic is bad for so many reasons but let's just name a few, it is not biodegradable and even when it does break down over many, many years it turns into something called micro plastics which they are now finding in our drinking water, the oceans and even our food. Scary, I know!

The way in which plastic is made is also very toxic to the environment as the raw materials are processed many toxic gases are released into our environment.

Many toys for the last few centuries were made from plastic as it was a new and exciting material that could be versatile in how it was utilized. Now that there is more evidence to it's effects on the earth, many scientists have been exploring more earth friendly alternatives.

Here are a few materials that are a better option:

  • Cork
  • Wood
  • Silicone
  • felt
  • cotton
  • wool
  • rubber
  • metal
  • bamboo

Some of these materials are obvious as to why they are better but let me explain why some are maybe still not perfect but a better alternative to plastic.

Silicone versus plastic: Silicone is an incredible material that is being utilized more and more for all kinds of products. It is made from natural materials found in nature like plastic is but is less toxic to produce as it is made from heating sand and not fossil fuels which release carbon. The major benefit over plastic is it is much more durable in that it will not break down into micro plastics over time. It can also be recycled like plastic can to create new materials albeit it is not something you can just throw into your recycling box, at least not yet. It is not perfect but it does have some benefits over plastic.

Metal and rubber are usually very recyclable. That is why we use tin cans to hold our food that can later be put into our recycling bins.

Plastic can also be recycled and that is why some toy companies are taking the old plastics and recycling them into new toys! One such brand is called Green toys and even the toy giant Mattel has made a goal to use 100% recycled or bio based plastics in the making of their toys by 2030.

Now let's talk about wood! Wood is an incredible material that is biodegradable and does not necessarily need to use toxic chemicals to process it into the finished product. It can be shaped into numerous objects that serve a variety of purposes, however...that does not mean the use of it is always eco-friendly. If trees are cut down they are no longer cleaning our air from all the other toxins we produce and if we cut down all the trees and do not plant new ones we are still harming our beautiful planet. That is why it is important that we know that the companies that are using wood are doing it sustainably.