202 South Allen Street
State College, PA 16801
Store Local: 814-237-3655
Store Toll-Free: 800-993-8697
Online Customer Support: 800-372-9982
Growing Tree Toys obviously cares about toys - our thoughtful selection of products springs from our desire for children to have the best possible playthings for enriching, imaginative play. Not only do these toys teach important developmental skills through play, but they are safe and fun for growing children.
But as any caregiver can attest, children are observant. Not only do they mimic adults starting at a young age, but they learn through what they see and hear every day. For this exact reason, we feel that offering a well-rounded selection of toys, which includes green toys or eco-friendly toys, is an important mission. Luckily for us - and the children that play with our toys - there are many great green toys!
But, what makes a toy eco-friendly? What are the criteria? Unfortunately, there is no "eco-standard" for toys yet, which is why we have spent much time developing our own criteria for evaluating the eco-friendliness of the toys we carry with the guidance and expertise of our "green consultant," Jennifer Bean. Jen has dedicated much of her adult life to educating others in the areas of environmental appreciation and many aspects of "green living." Jen earned an M.S. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England and a B.S. in Recreation and Park Management from Penn State University - education which allowed her work as an assistant director for outdoor environmental educational programs, green design educator, adjunct faculty for Antioch University New England, and instructor for Penn State University.
Through collaboration with Jen, we have devised 7 different categories in which a toy can be classified to be considered green or an eco-friendly toy. These new Green Categories will not only serve as a valuable resource for shoppers looking for environmentally-friendly toy alternatives, but these categories will also inform customers of the different ways toys and other products can be better for the environment. We hope you enjoy shopping for a "green toy" using our helpful Eco-Friendly Toy Categories!
Toys Made from Recycled Materials
We love toys made from Recycled Materials! Not only are these toys great for the environment because they are using materials that had a previous life, but they are also wonderful examples to children of the good things that can come from recycling. These eco-friendly toys can be made from a wide range of products, but most use recycled paper or plastic to make a completely unique toy!
Toys Made from Natural Resources
Toys made from natural materials, even if the materials are not considered renewable, often times are better for the environment than other toys. Whether these eco-friendly toys are made from wood, organic cotton, or another natural material, these natural toys are still a big hit with the ultimate "natural resource" - kids' imaginations!
Toys Made From Renewable Resources
Eco-friendly toys made with renewable resources are some of the best for the environment. Since a renewable resource is replenished by natural processes at a faster rate than consumption by us humans, the materials used to make these toys - materials like bamboo or cork - are naturally plentiful and replenish themselves quickly.
Toys that are Regionally Sourced
While many toys are made internationally, there are still many great toys that are produced in the United States, Canada or Mexico, which significantly decreases the impact that their transportation has on the environment. Some US companies use wood that is locally harvested to create their toys, which lowers the cost of transporting materials for production; while others simply make their products in the United States, which makes sending them to the end consumer less environmentally-taxing.
Toys made with Eco-Friendly Manufacturing or Design
We love to purchase toys from manufacturers that take extra steps to make toys more environmentally friendly, even when using material like plastic. The incorporation of soy-based inks or the use of non-toxic chemicals helps make these toys better for the environment. In addition to this added attention when developing their toys, manufacturers can also focus on decreasing their packaging or making it from recycled materials. Every little bit helps!
Toys from an Eco-Conscious Manufacturer
We love our Eco-Conscious Manufacturers! While some make toys from renewable or recycled materials - making their toys as "green" as possible - others help the Earth by offsetting the impact of their manufacturing through planting trees, donating money, buying credits to offset emissions, and more. While every toy many not be an eco-friendly toy, manufacturers can still do their parts to help the environment.
Eco-Learning Toys and Environmental Appreciation Toys
While exposure to true eco-friendly toys is wonderful for children, toys that foster an appreciation of the environment or teach children eco-friendly concepts are just as important. These toys help children understand the "big picture" of the Earth's system, while also teaching them the importance of an eco-friendly lifestyle and how to attain it. The earlier children learn to appreciate the Earth and understand their impact on it, the more likely they are to help preserve and maintain it!
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