Are Toys Actually the Enemy Within When It Comes to Being Green?
Because we associate toys with innocence and childhood, often they are the last household items that we think of as being in any way un-green, toxic, or non-environmentally friendly. Whilst we take time to source the best organic memory foam mattress for our children’s cots and beds, the toys they sleep with, chew and cuddle every day may escape our consideration. So what are the eco options for children’s toys?
Questions to Ask to Ensure Your Kid’s Toys Are Green
One way to keep things green is to bear the following criteria in mind: is the product made from non toxic, recycled or naturally grown materials? Is it durable? Will be break down when it is eventually finished with? Has it been made by a company powered by renewable energy sources who minimize their carbon footprint? Does the product release harmful toxin or compound, during use or manufacture?
Source Kid’s Toys and Products Carefully
Of course it would be impossible to follow up all these questions yourself, so it is perhaps better to buy toys from companies with these issues at the top of their agenda. There are an increasing number of manufacturers who are offering toys with green credentials, and some that insist that, in addition to this, their manufacturer treats workers fairly all the way down the supply chain.
When It Comes to Toy Ingredients, Is Natural the Safest Bet?
One obvious way of ensuring that your children are safeguarded from harmful chemicals and plastics is to stick to natural materials, especially in the early years, before they come under any peer group pressure to conform to toy trends. Organic cotton teddies and soft toys, made with natural organic stuffing are widely available. You can rest easy in the knowledge that your child is not sucking fire-retarding chemicals when he or she is chewing on teddy’s ear.
Wooden toys are another sure way of keeping your children safe. Traditional favorites, such a building blocks and wooden vehicles will always be popular. But make sure the wood is sourced from forests that have been certified by an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) accredited organization. Air-dried hardwoods are the most durable, and use the fewest chemicals during processing. It is possible for wooden toys to be treated with a great number of harmful chemicals, such as varnishes, bleaches, paints, glues, polishes and sealants. Make sure you are not letting a chemical Trojan in through the nursery door.
A neat new idea from the eco-gadget world is the invention of the radiator booster fan. Developed by a UK inventor, the Radiator Booster Mk 3 adds to the
energy efficiency of your radiators, whist using minimal electricity itself. It costs less than less than a dollar per year to run.
How Does the Radiator Booster Work?
Radiator booster fans draw the heat from a traditional radiator and distribute it more efficiently into a room. It heats the room faster, which in turn leads to the boiler switching off sooner, thus saving you money. Significant savings can be made in heating costs, which has been independently tested and confirmed by the Energy Saving Trust, who estimate that reducing the use of your boiler by just one hour a week can save you 15kw of power. Simple to install, the user simply places the item on top of the radiator and plugs it in. The fan noise is minimal – roughly the same level as a laptop computer.
The radiator fan has an inbuilt thermostat and the fan will only activate when the radiator reaches 30 degrees Celsius. This obviates the need to turn the device on and off, and further reduces energy expenditure. The fan has been shown to improve radiator efficiency by up to 50%, by improving heat distribution and reducing heat loss through the wall immediately behind the radiator. It can be used with radiator covers, which dramatically reduce the amount of heat circulated in a room. It can be plugged into a timer, which will ensure it won’t be running throughout the day when you may not need it.
Made from recycled polypropylene, and fitted with a mains cable, power adapter and weighing a mere 240gms, this is the sort of eco-innovation that consumers love. It saves money and increases efficiency. The fans use just 1 Watt of energy, and are a great, unobtrusive addition to any energy conscious household.
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This has been a guest post for Green Technology & Green Gadgets.