Sustainable toys for the children of today – and tomorrow

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In most industries, we've seen a rapid transition toward sustainability. One large industry, however, has been slower in the transition towards more sustainable practices. The toy sector is known to be quite plastic-intensive, which has a global impact on the environment.
Granted, some companies are actively working to package their toys in more environmentally friendly materials, but it's not the eco-friendly cardboard around the toy that your children put in their mouths when they're teething, nor is it the eco-friendly cardboard that they snuggle with when they're sleeping. It might've been difficult for toy manufacturers to find a good alternative to conventional plastic that was both high-quality and reasonably priced in the past, but human ingenuity has forever changed the game with the invention of new composites.

A new partnership has formed


Typically, it only takes one important player in the industry to spark change, and luckily, a major player has just emerged into the spotlight.
Quercetti describes itself as a forward-thinking toy company whose purpose is to "give today's children the tools they need to become better adults tomorrow." Their goal is to minimize their global environmental footprint as much as possible. For their eco-sustainable PlayBio toy line, Quercetti decided to work with Stora Enso and use their bio-based material, which is an innovative material alternative to replace plastics in toy manufacturing.
When asked about the Quercetti collaboration, Niki Jennische, head of Biocomposites by Stora Enso, responds with passion.
"Stora Enso's Biocomposites are a green, safe, and versatile material. It reduces CO2 emissions by reinforcing biopolymers with wood fibers and can be used in injection moulding. Biocomposites does not deteriorate, and is a safe option because it is petrochemical-free and complies with all current food-safety and environmental-impact requirements, making it ideal for toys and childcare items."
The partnership with Quercetti and Stora Enso is a landmark where two companies with strong environmental agendas have initiated a collaboration. In addition to focusing on material selection and CO2 emissions, both companies offer transparent supply chains. Quercetti, unlike many other toy companies, has direct control over their manufacturing process and a strong ethic of transparency, which sets them apart. This means that the entire production process, from toy design to delivery, takes place in Turin, Italy. This demonstrates how environmental changes extend beyond materials to include organizational behaviour and collaboration with like-minded partners, resulting in an industrial milestone.

Instruments of consciousness


Every choice of production sends a message. So does every item bought and gift given. We all want to make a good choice when it comes to the well-being of children. PlayBio, Quercetti's educational and environmentally friendly toy line that is made from Biocomposites, has received a lot of positive feedback on the market. The toys' "wooden perfume" and soft colours thanks to the unique material appear to be particularly appealing to buyers.
Francesco Allora, Quercetti's Head of Industrial Design, says, “Since we produce educational toys, we wish to convey to children the importance of adopting more responsible measures to protect our planet. Making the switch to biobased materials for children is a great way to start introducing environmentally friendly options to them at a young age, as part of their upbringing, growth, and education.”
It is well known that children do not always do what you say. They do what they see, and how you live your life is their example. Quercetti's use of Stora Enso's Biocomposites material enables them to create toys that are not only important playful and educational tools, but also instruments of consciousness.
Is it too good to be true that we can make non-toxic toys for our children while also reducing CO2 emissions? Until now, the toy business has undoubtedly portrayed that picture. Thankfully, Quercetti and Stora Enso are here to show how sustainability in the toy industry can be achieved.