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Toys How bioplastics and

Toys How bioplastics and biocomposites are changing the toy industry Consumers are becoming more mindful of how and where products are made. A recent study by Euromonitor International’s Consumers Editor, Daphne Kasriel, noted, “consumers are increasingly looking to connect with brands, business models and products that do not associate with negative environmental and social impacts.” Thus also toy companies are responding to rising concerns about toxins, an increasing desire for sustainable materials and, a greater awareness of how and where products are made. BeginAgain, a Fort Collins (Colorado, USA) -based toymaker focused on thoughtful product design and imaginative storytelling, was looking for a safe, sustainable, soft plastic material free of phthalates, BPA etc, for several new products. They were introduced to Terratek ® Flex, a new compostable elastomeric bioplastic developed and manufactured by Kansas-based bioplastics manufacturer, Green Dot. “Green Dot’s corn starch bioresin is the most innovative ecomaterial we’ve ever had our hands on – it’s the new rubber,” said BeginAgain co-founder Chris Clemmer. “It’s safe, soft and can be naturally scented. It’s even dishwasher safe, yet transforms into compost at the end of its useful life.” In fact Terratek Flex, a proprietary patent pending starch-based compostable elastomer has been verified by SGS Fresenius Laboratories to meet ASTM D6400 and EN 13432 standards for biodegradability in an industrial composting facility and has been found to biodegrade in a backyard-composting environment as well. BeginAgain is Green Dot’s exclusive toy design partner. The companies collaborated to create several new toys that combine BeginAgain’s playful designs with Green Dot’s innovative new bioplastic. The Green Ring teether is made from a 3-inch loop of smooth maple wood encircled by Terratek Flex soft compostable bioplastic. BeginAgain’s Green Keys are also made with Terratek Flex and are perfect for teething and developing grasping skills. The soft non-toxic plastic was tested by NSF Laboratories and verified to be free from phthalates, BPA, lead and cadmium, and can be easily removed and sanitized in the dishwasher. BeginAgain’s imaginative ice cream play set called Scented Scoops features scoops made from Green Dot’s bioplastic and scented with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors that smell good enough to eat. The starch-based bioplastic is superior for scenting and retains scents longer than petroleum-based plastics. Consumers value these BeginAgain products not only because they are non-toxic and made with more sustainable materials, but also because both the materials and products are produced regionally in the United States. “Using recycled plastic is a great first step, but we have to do more to reduce our impact on the Earth,” says David Bowen, BeginAgain co-founder. “We must fundamentally change the way we make and consume products. Renewable, plant-based materials like bio-resins, sustainably harvested wood and natural rubber are a big part of the solution.” Green Dot is also working with toymakers using the company’s Terratek WC wood and Terratek SC starch composites. The materials combine by-products from lumber manufacturers and food ingredient companies with virgin, reclaimed, or recycled plastics to produce small uniform 42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/14] Vol. 9

Toys By: Kevin Ireland Communications Manager Green Dot Holdings LLC Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, USA pellets optimized for injection molding or extrusion. Toymakers find that Terratek WC is not only more sustainable, but also more durable than either plastic or wood alone, particularly for toys that may be used and left outside. The toy parts can be colored in the molding process to alleviate concerns about toxins in peeling or chipping paint. Offering similar benefits as the WC material but with the clean, finished look of unfilled plastic, Terratek SC provides an option for toy makers that want a more sustainable material but without the aesthetics of wood. Green Dot’s biocomposites and bioplastics offer toy manufacturers a cost competitive material that is more sustainable and more durable, for safer toys that will last for years. Green Dot CEO Mark Remmert explained, “Bioplastics are a natural fit for toymakers. Companies large and small recognize that their customers are seeking toys that are safe and earth friendly. Green Dot stands ready to meet this need with a full line of biobased, compostable and biocomposite materials. We’re looking forward to continuing to help these companies make toys that are safer, more sustainable, perform better, last longer and, of course, are just plain fun. INTAREMA ® The new system generation from EREMA. Self-service. Redefined. Reaching perfect pellet quality at the press of a button: the new INTAREMA ® features the intelligent Smart Start operating concept, bringing together production efficiency and remarkably straightforward operation. This is all about usability. Including an ergonomic touchscreen, practical recipe management and automated standby mode. CHOOSE THE NUMBER ONE. bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/14] Vol. 9 43

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