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issue 04/2021

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  • Toys
  • Toy
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  • Plastics
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  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Toys Thermoforming Basics: Bio-Polypropylene

Toys Game changer

Toys Game changer Presentation Lego / Allan V. Rasmussen 01-2016 Environmental Impact Assessment 75 % impact is with our suppliers, materials and design Address 85 % of our environmental impact 10 % impact is in our production Just two highlights from a survey done by narocon for a customer What do you mainly associate with the term „sustainability“? (multiple choice) Environmentally friendly materials (16/21) 76% Resource conservation, e.g. less plastic (12/21) 57% Biologisch abbaubare Abfälle (5/21) 24% Reduction of greenhouse gases (6/21) 29% Circular and recycling systems for products (14/21) 67% Comprehensive behaviour change (9/21) 43% In which time frame do you consider sustainable action indispensable? Long overdue (17) 81 % immediately (3) 14% by 2025 (1) 5% by 2030 (0) 0% by 2050 (0) 0% When do things start to change? Sounds like an easy-to-answer question but hold on for a minute and think. If you could answer quickly and correctly, you’d be a billionaire, at least a multi-millionaire with your huge pile of apple and amazon stocks in your depot bought ten years back or longer. It is much easier to detect and indicate the beginning of something when looking back – years back. When Michael Thielen and I were starting to organize the first bio!TOY conference back in 2018 (see reports in bM issue 03/2019) we both had the feeling the toy industry is up for material change. Not just for the packaging which brands use for transport or presentation of their products, but for their games, soft 15 % impact is in the consumer & disposal phase toys, building bricks, hand puppets, beach toys and whatsoever. Was it the beginning? And what comes next? The toy industry has been analysed in a UN report to be the most plasticintense consumer industry sector worldwide. This links toys, as a product, to higher risks if plastics would be charged to wear the full environmental burden and cost or, as UN concluded, “it would wipe out the profits of many companies.” At that time plastic bashing wasn’t as prominent as it is today and nobody had the toys industry in their crosshairs yet (service packaging like plastic bags, however, were already under fire). Nevertheless, a mega toy brand announced with a loud PR bang in 2016: “By 2030 we will find and implement sustainable alternatives to our current materials.” That covered all polymers used! It was LEGO who kicked off the initiative and took on a really big challenge to replace an awesomely performing material: Lego’s target was and is to replace more than 50,000 tonnes of ABS and more than 20 kt of other polymers per year for their very durable and functional bricks. And why all this? Because 75 % of their total environmental footprint comes from raw material and polymer production. This announcement could mark the start because it created a wave of interest and occupation by many more players. It inspired Michael and me to organize the first business conference where about 90 representatives of the biobased material manufacturers and toy brands would meet in toy city Nuremberg, Germany, back in March of 2019. Now I can proudly say that that event supported and triggered many more initiatives. EU toy industry associations like the German affiliation put sustainability as key priority on their agenda and started with an educational membership programme including meetings and lectures. Sustainability surveys were researching the attitude, projects, and targets of their members. These revealed that material substitution and circular design have become key topics. Platforms like the industry representations and the Spielwarenmesse (Nuremberg toy fair) started initiatives which will certainly fuel further engagement and involvement. Industry leaders like DVSI managing director Uli Brobeil (Deutsche Verband der Spielwarenindustrie (German Association of the Toy Industry) recognized 12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/21] Vol. 16

By: Harald Kaeb narocon InnovationConsulting Berlin, Germany 7-8 Co-organizer Sep 2021 LEGO Hasbro Mattel Simba-Dickie Playmobil Ravensburger* Schleich Steiff* Zapf Bruder Turnover of the largest toy manufacturers worldwide 2019 in Millionen Euro 5876 4339 4147 702 676 492 200 109 105 79 Toys *Figure of 2018 Source: Statista, Company information sustainability not as a trend but as an ongoing fundamental change and long-term effort. The companies are searching for new materials (biobased or recycled content), circular solutions (recyclability), and check their supply chain for energy consumption and green sources. Biobased and biodegradable plastics are still quite new to this industry which uses ABS, polyolefins, and PS at a significant scale: Rough assumptions stand at around half a million tonnes of plastics consumed for toys and related items in Europe each year. The toy industry has many durable products on the shelf. LEGO is not the big exemption – companies like Mattel, Hasbro, Simba Dickie, or Playmobil all serve generations of players, mostly kids but also adults with their high-quality plastic products. Toys are passed on from one generation to the next – thus quality cannot be compromised, neither can safety. The use of recycled content for toys is not a simple approach and solution. Standards like EN 71, the producer responsibility, and brand governance strictly demand highest safety levels for toys, i.e. for babies and young children. That’s where the biobased materials come in and therefore attract an extra level of awareness and interest. Biobased PE from Braskem and FKUR is already used in several products of toy brands – amongst them are LEGO, Hasbro, Playbox, BioBuddy, or Dantoy. PLA successfully has entered the 3D printing market and one of the biggest marketers ColorFabb Helian is selling all kinds of coloured PLA filament for quite a few homemade toys and copied play figures around the globe. Bioseries – a very early adopter like LEGO – is successfully marketing PLA for baby toys. Beach toys are one segment where biodegradable materials like PHA and related copolyester compound manufacturers will find new business opportunities. If lost then no harm will happen to the fauna and flora. It is amazing to see how more recent announcements from Hasbro or Mattel on material substitution targets, circularity, or greenhouse gas emission reduction have created a visible momentum today. Their common goal is a fundamental change of the material basis to deliver on increased circularity, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and address their 2025 or 2030 sustainability goals. Along with these toy brand giants smaller and mid-sized businesses have entered and beautiful toys are in the making. The toy industry still has a long way to go – and so has the plastics industry. Biobased toys make up only a very small percentage of the total consumption. The production often is taking place in Asia and the supply chains are long and complex. But if there is any product segment where materials are perfect to carry the message of sustainability and green innovation it is the plastic toy market. The current generation of parents already understand the importance of it – plastic bashing is just the flipside of the medal here. And most likely the Greta Thunberg generation will not allow any non-sustainable plastics and toys for their children at all. So that’s how it started. At the 2 nd bio!TOY conference (see pp.10) we’ll see where it stands today – and what comes in the next years. Biobased plastics are a big part of the game here. | PLA baby toys (Foto: Bioserie) PHA beach toys (Photo Zoë b Organic) bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/21] Vol. 16 13

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