Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Little Pony gets a greener pasture

Some of you may know that in my professional (non-blogging) life, I've spent a lot of time in the business of toys. We often feature lovely and expensive wooden toys, but I also dig a well-designed shiny plastic bit of awesomeness. Whatever you think about that kind of mass-market, plastic-producing, made-in-China industry, you have to recognize that a huge percentage of toys are made this way, and not everyone is going to be inclined to buy green. Plus, someday your kid may fall in love with My Little Pony, and you'll find that the lovely set of wooden blocks doesn't capture her imagination quite as completely as three little pastel plastic ponies with brushable hair.

For me, one of the biggest scandals in toy sustainability has been that the marketing requirements (real, or perceived?) push small products into oversized plastic packaging. This always bothered me, because the kid gets so little value from a throw-away package. WalMart started pushing on this a few years ago, awarding "points" for a tighter package-product ratio and more responsible materials. Now Hasbro is stepping up with a real set of changes. Among the goals:
  • 15% improvement in product-to-packaging ratio across the board.
  • Eliminating all PVC (the material most commonly used in plastic blisters) in packaging by 2013.
  • Eliminating all wire ties. In 2011, Hasbro replaced all their wire ties with paper or bamboo rattan. This showed up in a couple of our Christmas presents, and the paper ties are charming.
  • Increasing the recycled content of the paper stock from 75% (2011) to 90% (2015).
I'm always excited to hear one of the big players decides to make a real difference. As my five-year-old would say "clap it up for Hasbro." Nice work!

 Images from RainMama's Flickr Site (top) and Hasbro (bottom). Via Greener Package.

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