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Issue 02/2018

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Toys Biobased plastics

Toys Biobased plastics capture the toy industry Sandbox toys (© dantoy A/S) Plasto-Truck found at Nuremberg toy fair Screenshot from the Pixelhobby software (showing Patrick Zimmermann of FKuR). Biobased plastics are conquering the toy market. Already today, a large number of applications inspire their very young audience with fresh colours, pleasantly soft surfaces without sharp corners and edges and long-lasting robustness against the often rough treatment. The bioplastic specialist FKuR (Willich, Germany) has a whole range of harmless compounds in its portfolio, which are perfectly matched to these demanding requirements and thus open the way to sustainability in children’s rooms and sandboxes. Biobased, resource-conserving plastics from FKuR which contribute to reduced CO 2 emissions offer a broad potential for the production of toys. The technical compound, Biograde ® , based on cellulose acetate offers high rigidity, strength and impact resistance. The PLA-based Bio-Flex ® grades are softer, ductile but also suitable for more flexible applications. In addition to the elastomer-like Terraprene ® grades and the biobased thermoplastic elastomers (TPE-S), most of the toy examples that are already available on the market come from the field of I’m green Bio-PE grades and the bio-PE based Terralene ® compounds. FKuR’s customer dantoy (Hobro, Denmark), one of Scandinavia’s largest producers of plastic toys, for example is one of the users of bio-PE for toys. Dantoy offers sandbox toys such as buckets, sieves, rakes and shovels, as well as dishes for the play kitchen. High play value, safety for children and product durability are just a few key aspects that reflect the quality of dantoy products. Good, safe materials (no PVC or phthalates) are also a key point when measuring safety and quality. bioplastics MAGAZINE publisher Michael Thielen discovered the products of Plasto (Mariehamn, Finland) at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair. Plasto, with over 60 years of experience in manufacturing high quality plastic toys, places a very high value on safety and durability. The company also has a strong focus on environmental values and has been recycling its plastic production waste already for several decades. According to Plasto, the new range of bio-PE toys has been extremely well received. Just before Christmas Kennet Berndtsson, Managing Director at Plasto said ”We have expanded our (biobased) range with crane and fire truck. We are proud to offer a sustainable choice”. The Dutch company Pixelhobby (Wervershoof, The Netherlands) offers a completely different kind of toy. Using freely downloadable software, photos can be converted into mosaic images. The respective set of tiny mosaic pieces of FKuR’s bio-PE can then be ordered and subsequently be assembled into a real mosaic picture. The carbon content of biobased materials offered by FKuR is up to 96 % from renewable plant sources. The materials are recyclable and free of plasticizers and bisphenol A (BPA). They also meet the requirements of the toy standard DIN EN 71-3. FKuR’s Director Marketing & Sales, Patrick Zimmermann says: “We understand that the manufacturers have different but always high demands on good toys and that they do not compromise on quality and safety. We support our customers from the selection of the most suitable compound for their purposes to the start of production, and we also advise them on the marketing of the products made from our bioplastics according to their target group.” MT | | | 18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/18] Vol. 13

Toys Eco truck from WPC One of the most exciting trends in the United States right now is the Maker Movement. Simply put, the idea is to use traditional processes combined with new technology to create products locally, with a handcrafted look and feel. With the advent of CAD design, 3D printers and using the internet to find resources, manufacturing is enjoying a renaissance at the local level. Luke’s Toy Factory (Danbury, Connecticut, USA) was born into that environment, with the idea of using waste materials to make toys. After successful project for their first toy, the EcoTruck Fire Truck (cf. bM 05/2014), the company has expanded their line to five trucks, all using a Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) of 30 % maple fiber combined with virgin polypropylene. The material colors well, a must for toys, and allows to create toys with far thicker walls (3mm) than traditional plastic toys. This gives the toys a look and feel more like a handcrafted wooden toy, but at a fraction of the cost of a wooden version with the same level of detail. Recently, the toy makers from Connecticut have been exploring alternative materials, with the idea of using end of life waste products that have no other commercial or industrial value. The supplier for the WPC product is RheTech, a HEXPOL Company from Whitmore Lake, Michigan, USA. They have an extensive line of, commercially available, natural fiber reinforced compounds that are marketed under the name RheVision. RheTech provided Luke’s with some samples using flax shive, ground walnut shells, rice hulls (husks), coconut shells and even finely ground paper. Using these materials, a version of the Dump Truck was created with each part employing a unique reinforcement. The result is an elegant, eye-catching toy. The materials all have a different texture and color yet work together as a whole. This truck is being marketed as an educational product for the Pre-school and Kindergarten market, to engage children into a discussion of recycling and sustainability. In this way, a child can understand the cycle of re-use and renew as a viable part of their lives. “The most interesting lesson we have learned is that children like the toy in it’s natural colors,” says Jim Barber, Managiung Partner of Luke’s Toy factory. “And we love to be able to point out the interesting materials it is made from. This year we will be producing the entire line in these materials, and are looking forward to other materials that Rhetech, has in the pipeline as this exciting new market evolves.” MT | S24167 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/18] Vol. 13 19

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