Award-winning New Zealand entrepreneurs Anthea Madill and Helen Townsend are shining a light on the global toy industry’s impact on climate change by establishing World Sustainable Toy Day.
The global toy industry is the most plastic intensive in the world with 40 tonnes of plastic used for every $1 million revenue. It produces 1 million tonnes of waste annually and 90% of toys are made from petroleum releasing CO2 equivalent to that absorbed by 1 billion trees. Not only that, 80% of toys are shipped across the world adding another 20% to toys’ carbon emissions.
“The theme for the inaugural World Sustainable Toy Day is Toys That Last.” says co-founder Helen Townsend “Children lose interest in 25% of their toys after one week, and by the end of January, around 35% of Christmas toys are no longer loved. Whatever material a toy is made of, the embedded carbon from manufacture and shipping is disproportionate to this short lifespan”.
Townsend and her co-founder Anthea Madill are experienced in sustainably developing long-lasting toys. Their toy company Sustained Fun offsets 120% of the carbon it produces and toys are designed with climate change in mind. They are the creators of EcoSplat reusable water balloons, an alternative to single-use water balloons that are waste-free and fun for longer. “Unlike single-use water balloons where the water-fight lasts only a few minutes and the clean-up takes hours, each EcoSplat replaces 3000 single-use water balloons and because they are reusable water-fights can continue for hours with no rubbish to pick up at the end” says Townsend.
Conscious of the environmental need to make toys last longer Townsend and Madill have published activities to lengthen EcoSplat’s play experience and have a newly released activity book and soon to be released S.T.E.M. experiment book using EcoSplat.
“It’s not just about the products either” says Madill, “toys shape how kids see and interact with the world. Toys can be a force for good by playfully educating kids about climate change or they can train kids to expect high consumption of disposable plastic products. Designing and developing toys gives us the opportunity and responsibility to help kids become more climate confident.”
“75% of kids are worried about their future because of climate change and parents are demanding more eco-friendly toys” says Madill. “Climate change needs to be urgently addressed by toy companies which have such a large influence on children’s lives. World Sustainable Toy Day is an opportunity to collaborate within the toy industry, educate families on toys’ impact on the climate and showcase more sustainable options”
“Talking to kids about climate change doesn’t have to be depressing - we can show them that our choices help to create positive systemic change, all while having a mega water fight!”
The inaugural World Sustainable Toy Day will be celebrated on 18th November with the theme Toys that Last. Get involved at www.sustainedfun.com
For more information contact:
+64 (0)27 863 5700
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