Shopping Green / Green Products
By Teresa McUsic
Finding green toys locally this holiday season is surprisingly easy, thanks to one California manufacturer. Green Toys Inc. of Mill Valley, Calif., started in 2007, the year millions of toys from major toy manufacturers like Mattel and Fisher Price were recalled because of lead paint from their Chinese factories. Today, Green Toys has grown its distribution to hundreds of stores nationwide, including more than fifty retailers in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
It was the 2007 toy recalls that started an interest by parents in seeking out safe, non-toxic toys like the Green Toys line, said Sally Amos, manager of Toys Unique at 6500 W. Lovers Lane in Dallas. “When the Chinese thing happened Green Toys became strong in the marketplace and because of that we’ve been able to sell more every year,” she said.
Green Toys: Airplane - Sea Plane - Submarine
Amos said this holiday season is seeing further interest among parents for Green Toys. “About 40 percent of our customers are looking at the Green Toys this year and that has lead to selling about 20 percent more compared to last year,” she said. “When it’s something specific they are looking to buy like a car or truck or tea set, they like to buy it green.”
Other stores that sell Green Toys in the Metroplex include the Whole Foods Chain, museum shops and many other locally-owned toy stores. The store and online listings can be found at www.GreenToys.com.
Made from food-safe, 100 percent recycled milk containers, these toys contain no BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings and are dishwasher safe. Green Toys products are tested by nationally recognized, independent, third-party labs. They are also designed without any external coatings, eliminating the fear of lead paint. Each toy is packaged in a 100 percent recyclable corrugated box printed with soy inks—no twist ties, plastic or cellophane.
The toy line includes dozens of standard children’s products, from tea sets to trucks. “There’s something for every age group from teethers to jump ropes,” said Liz Johnston, co-owner of The Greener Good, an eco-friendly retailer in Fort Worth. “My daughter tells me all she wants for Christmas is a tool set from Green Toys.” Among the more popular sellers from the manufacturer are the pool/bath toys line, Johnston said. Her biggest customer segment for the toys is parents of young children, she said. “When children are putting toys in their mouths, you want them as safe as possible,” Johnston said. “These are such high quality toys, parents don’t have to worry about them.”
Owl from Apple Park - Sweater from BlahBlahKids - Fruit Blocks from Petite Collage
Other green toy lines to consider available in the local market include:
• Apple Park. This manufacture makes organic plush toys, blankets, baby toys and books. Local stores can be found at www.applepark.com.
• Bla Bla Kids. Maker of organic soft dolls, clothes and baby room décor. www.blablakids.com
• Petite Collage. The San Francisco-based company makes puzzles, blocks, décor on sustainably grown maple veneer and with 100 percent recycled stock. www.petitecollage.com.
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Teresa McUsic is an Arlington-based writer focused on consumer, environmental and health issues for a number of local and national publications. Her column, The Savvy Consumer, appears in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She can be reached at TMcUsic@aol.com