Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Green Toys from Toys "R" Us: Good Green Fun?

As if you need further evidence that eco-friendly marketing and green products are on the rise, Toys"R"Us announced in a press release the launch of an exclusive line of environmentally friendly toys that will be marketed under the Toys"R"Us brand. Exerpts from the release are quoted below:

"The first toys in the collection -- Natural Wooden Toys, Natural Cotton plush animals and Organic Cotton Dolls -- will be available exclusively at Toys"R"Us stores nationwide and online at www.Toysrus.com by Earth Day, April 22.

The toy products promote "Good Green Fun." The toys come packaged in earth-tone colored boxes that bear a special "R" seal. This seal consists of a green version of the iconic Toys"R"Us reversed "R" logo with a green leaf, encircled by the words "Recycle, Renew, Reuse, Re-think," and signifies for parents that the toys are eco-friendly.

"We know that kids are becoming more environmentally conscious and are curious about how they can do their part to help protect the planet," said Karen Dodge, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys"R"Us, U.S. "Going green is more than just a trend. It's becoming a lifestyle. This is just our first step in offering our customers the best selection of eco-friendly and organic products in all of our Toys"R"Us stores nationwide."

Crafted from natural materials, these items come in packaging that is made from no less than 70% recycled material. The Natural Wooden Toys are decorated using a unique wood-burning technique, which offers a classic look. The Natural Cotton plush animals and Organic Cotton Dolls are colored using natural or water-based dyes and are made with unprocessed, unbleached and untreated cotton.

In addition, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified that the materials used to make the Natural Wooden Toys were sourced from well-managed forests, using a system of ten rules that define responsible forest management. Each wooden product in the collection is marked with an identifiable FSC logo.

The Natural Wooden Toys include a fire engine, utility crane, shape sorter, trailer truck, racing car, formula car, alphabet blocks wagon and stacking train."

What does all this mean for museums and exhibit developers? Well, if you have an early childhood gallery, you better stash the primary-colored plastic toys from Playskool!

On a more serious note, as mainstream companies like Toys "R" Us and Wal-Mart develop, market, and sell green products, both Museum Exhibit Clients and Museum Customers will expect to see exhibition galleries and design features that show green sensibilities.

Is some of this "greenwashing"? Perhaps, but if Toys "R" Us can Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rethink, can't Museums and Museum Designers as well?


  1. Hi Paul,

    I noticed that Toys R Us replaced the traditional "Reduce" with "Renew"-- seems they're ok with "Green" toys as long as they can keep selling more of them. It's a cleverly subtle bit of anti-anti-consumerist marketing.

    I'm glad to hear about the sustainably harvested wood though-- much better than all the plastic crap from China, anyway.

  2. Hi Nik,

    Yes, I noticed that "subtle" updating of the 4 Rs also.

    But as you say, at least it's a start toward reducing the flow of plastic toys.

    It will be interesting to see how much green toys cost compared to comparable "non green" wooden trucks, etc.

  3. It's good to see more attention on natural toys. It's about time!


  4. Paul,
    I am good with Green, but I noticed they are still made in China. any insight to that?


  5. Hi Marie,

    My sense is that since this is such a major push from Toys R Us regarding this Green Toy iniative that some of the recent problems involving toxic materials from Chinese factories shouldnt apply.

    It is a shame though that the economics of things seem to prevent these toys from being produced somewhere closer to the U.S.

  6. Hi Everyone,

    I am an intern this summer at Toys "R" Us working on the green initiative. If anyone is still reading this blog post and its comments and wishes to express his or her opinions to the company regarding the new green line, please feel free to contact me at cozzik@toysrus.com. I would love to hear your input and ask a few questions!

    Katelyn Cozzi

  7. Hi Katelyn,

    If you or anyone from Toys R Us would like to post additional information about the Green Toys initiative, I'm sure ExhibiTricks readers would be interested!