“Sustainability” and “kids toys” don’t really go together. The packaging is excessive, the toys themselves are largely made out of plastic in a factory across the ocean–requiring them to be shipped all around the world–and then the little
brats angels get bored with them after a few minutes and start playing with the box. But if anybody was going to invest in changing that, it’d probably be Whole Foods. That’s what the company–in partnership with PBS KIDS–plans to do by stocking up on 10 different toys (all priced at the reasonable-for-Whole Foods rate of under $30 each) from the extremely sustainable toy company PlanToys in time for Christmas.
The PlanToys line is obsessively sustainable–all of the materials used in the toys come from materials within 40 miles of the company’s factory (which is run on bioenergy, naturally). The wood is sourced from rubber trees that are cut down past their prime, and every piece of wood from the tree, including the shavings on the factory floor, is used to make the toys. (The sawdust is turned into a composite called PlanWood, which goes into the toys, in a process that uses a formaldehyde-free E-zero glue.) Once assembled, the toys are dried in a chemical-free kiln, and painted with organic color pigments and water-based dyes. “PlanToys is one of the most sustainable supply chains I’ve ever seen in the toy industry,” Jeanne Tamayo–the global lifestyle buyer for Whole Foods–says. They’re also well-designed, fun-looking toys that even selfish little toddlers who aren’t yet awake enough to care about the sourcing of their toy alligators should have fun with–and that’s what really matters.