Eco-Conscious Fifth-Graders Discuss Toy Industry’s Sustainability Efforts

10 July 2012

Responding to an invitation from a group of environmentally-conscious youth in metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, representatives of the toy industry visited a local elementary school to address the questions and concerns of 70 fifth grade students about the industry’s approach to packaging, global commerce, and the environmental needs of both producers and consumers.

During the May presentation at Westview Elementary School in Warren, Michigan, North American Toy Industry Association (TIA) SVP of technical affairs Al Kaufman and TIA VP of standards and government affairs Joan Lawrence, along with John Gessert and Hailey Mann of American Plastic Toys, explained: the “three Rs” of environmental sustainability (re-use, reduce, recycle); the vital role of proper packaging to assure that toys reach consumers in the same form that they left quality control at a manufacturing site; and a typical toy’s life-cycle – from being assembled to being received by the child. The session introduced examples of different types of toy packaging and explained why each is used. Examples of current environmentally sustainable practices being undertaken by toy companies – such as recycling of product, zero waste initiatives, and the use of wind farms and solar-powered factories – were also discussed. Experiments on packaging techniques and product safety brought the presentation to life for the students.

A full recording of the presentation can now be viewed on TIA’s YouTube page.

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