Eco-Friendly Toys and Natural Alternatives to Polyester Toy Stuffing
We all know and appreciate the joy that toys bring to children, pets, and even some adults, and with this joy, we always want to ensure that materials used to make these toys are safe and promote eco-friendly trends. Eco-friendly toys are durable and promote environmental sustainability by minimizing greenhouse gases.
The current environmental trends are pushing for sustainable alternatives to existing practices in production and consumption. OArtzfly aims to provide eco-friendly toys to the market by using sustainable materials like organic cotton, kapoka fiber, recycled and shredded fabric scraps, etc. We have a team of artisans working from the rural areas of India to create beautiful and assorted toys that meet global market demand.
What we are doing to support sustainable eco-friendly toys?
In Artzfly's journey towards eco-friendly handmade toys, we wanted to support the local populations by involving them in an activity that makes livelihood from natural products. As an initial effort, we wanted to bring an alternative to polyester stuffing in our amigurumi toys as we know the effect of polyester on the environment. Polyester is a non-biodegradable material that takes much longer to break down when disposed of, and this has a direct negative impact on the environment.
An article by Fur Commission USA acknowledges that most plush toys are made of polyester material made from oil and chemical components that are non-biodegradable. Our goal and mission are to promote handmade and artistic toy fillings and replace the toxic materials that pose health and environmental threats.
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Effects of Polyester on the Environment
Use of Harmful Chemicals
Polyester production uses chemicals like ethylene glycol, petroleum, and carbon which are both non-renewable and have a direct effect on the environment and human beings. Polyester production also uses dyes to enhance the product aesthetics, which are harmful to human and environmental health. The ethylene glycol is toxic when inhaled and can cause skin irritation which is harmful to babies and toddlers
The polyester production process expends wastewater that finds its way to natural water sources causing contamination. The use of petroleum, a non-renewable resource, contributes to the overexploitation of resources. More than 60 million barrels of oil are used every year to make polyester contributing 10% of the global carbon emissions.
The extended life-cycle of polyester fabric due to its non-biodegradable nature contributes to ocean and water bodies pollution leading to the spread of toxic pollutants in the food chain.
High Energy Consumption
Polyester production requires a high energy source to help break down the petroleum and carbon components into synthetic materials. The breakdown process releases approximately 27.2kg of greenhouse gases to the environment per production.
There are various eco-friendly materials available in India that can and could replace polyester fillings, and they include the use of
- Coconut fiber
- Cotton Fiber
- Kapok fiber from the Kapok tree
- Recycled and shredded fabric scraps
The eco-friendly alternatives make toy fillings and replace the use of polyester at the commercial level.
Our artisans will prepare Amigurumi using crochet and cotton threads filling as we have identified this to be a nature friendly and cost friendly option. This approach will help us provide alternative toy fillings. The toy fillings will also comprise of other alternative products like wool, kapok fiber, shredded fabric, coconut and cotton fiber.
The exciting thing about using yarn as the alternative to polyester is that kids still get to enjoy playing with their favorite toys. A team of artisans in India is keen to present these toys as children’s favorite animal characters, foods, and day-to-day objects that they relate to. These toys come in all colors and shapes to represent childhood glamor and vibrancy.
The use of yarn also makes soft toys that are friendly to child skins, and the artisans add thin cotton threads to stitch up the lacework, further enhancing the aesthetic nature of the toys.
Why use Alternative Toy Filings
Baby and Toddler safe
Our eco-friendly toys are made from yarn and threads to ensure suitability for baby and toddler use. They do not leave visible or invisible threads on the baby's skin or trigger allergic reactions. Polyester fibers used in the filling process are made from chemicals that contribute to carbon pollution, while the yarn used is natural products from plants. We understand that babies and toddlers have no awareness of their safety, and we aim to ensure that we are taking care of them.
Polyester fillings are considered lightweight compared to other fillers on the global markets. However, our eco-friendly option is lighter in weight than polyester fillings increasing suitability of use by babies and toddlers. Yarn and cotton weight is comparable to polyester fillers with fewer environmental consequences.
Retains Shape and Gives an Excellent Feel to The Finished Toy
A good-looking toy increases fun during play and attracts a child’s attention. The alternative materials to polyester are just as firm and stable to maintain the shape of the toy and its aesthetic feeling. Meaning that parents will not have to constantly dispose of and buy new toys once the old ones run out of shape since polyester fillings are comparable toy filings. We also understand that babies and toddlers enjoy the toys that allow flexibility and a fun time, and by using alternative fillings, we maintain these standards.
Most toys need a regular cleaning and the material used in filing determines how easy it is to wash the toy while avoiding clumping. It is advisable to remove the stuffing before cleaning and only clean the outer cover of the toy where applicable or use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum out the dust. Toy filing using kapok can be washed directly as it does not clamp and retains its original shape after washing.
Artzfly believes in the economic empowerment of communities by supporting their local crafts and introducing them to global markets.