Modern manufacturing has made sustainable, eco-friendly products increasingly difficult to find. The team at Artiwood Australia relishes this challenge.
In a world inundated by plastic we're always searching for toys that reflect our philosophy; at an affordable price. Most manufacturers never make the cut. However, those that do are worth the effort.
In 2016 we added more than 100 new products to our range; and again in 2017. This includes the best from rising global brands like Indigo Jamm, Apple Park, New Classic Toys and Kinderfeets; along with Kidstart, a reputable Australian supplier of educational posters and books. Our most recent addition is the new MICKI pastel range from Micki Leksaker; a third-generation family business from Sweden.
Our suppliers are people we trust and respect. We've chosen them for their commitment to designing and manufacturing safe and eco-friendly toys using sustainable, recycled or organic materials. Some of their eco-friendly practises are listed here. You'll find more details on each brand's home page. Don't be fooled by those who say they're eco-friendly but offer no supporting evidence.
How organic makes a different
Conventional farming methods are incredibly resource intensive. This is particularly true of cotton which accounts for up to one-third of the world's annual textile fabric production. In conventional cotton production, synthetic inputs (such as pesticides and fertilizers) are also used to maximize yields and to manage pests, weeds and disease. Conventional cotton uses about 16% of the world’s insecticides and 7% of pesticides.
These inputs are prohibited in organic production. Instead, farmers use a variety of natural techniques to grow their crops. This includes, but are by no means limited to; crop rotation, intercropping, minimum tillage, animal and green manures, composting, and biodynamic herbal or mineral powders. Organic cotton doesn’t damage the soil, has less impact on the air, and uses 71% less water and 62% less energy.
Learn more about the benefits of organic cotton here. You'll also find organic cotton products clearly identified on our website.
We also evaluate each supplier's commitment to commercial sustainability. There's little value in using eco-friendly materials if a toy's creation ultimately exploits others.
In support of this goal we ensure every supplier manufactures its products using fair and ethical practices. This includes ICTI factory certification issued under the USA’s Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in conjunction with the International Council of Toy Industries.
However, we don't just rely on international certification. We also visit our supplier's factories and conduct our own rigorous evaluation of their facilities and business practices. This includes reviewing initiatives to keep their workers safe and enhance their welfare.
What makes a product eco-friendly?
We describe our commitment to environmentally friendly and commerically sustainable products as Planet & People Friendly. This ultimately means that our toys offer rich learning opportunities but don't cost the earth; literally and figuratively.
Here's what makes our products more eco-friendly than most.
- We try to avoid products made from plastic or artifical fibres unless they're using recycled or biodegradable plastic materials (e.g. PET bottles saved from landfill).
- Many of our toys are made from rubberwood grown on plantations in Thailand and Sri Lanka. This timber is a sustainable source. As a rubber tree ages, its rubber latex production declines. Eventually its taken out of production. Our suppliers then harvest this wood to create beautiful toys.
- Alternatively our suppliers use timber from low risk wood species (such as Bamboo); or choose timber that's been sustainably sourced. This includes sourcing timber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and never using endangered rainforest timber.
- All paper products use vegetable-based inks and paper stock that's FSC certified. Waste paper produced during manufacture of these goods is also recycled whenever possible.
- Our Apple Park and Organic Farm Buddies baby and toddler products use certified 100% organically grown cotton and their natural corn fibre filling is GMO free.
- Our Apple Park and Organic Farm Buddies baby and toddler products are also Azo Dye Free. They only use certified Tek Standard Low Impact dyes.
- All painted products are finished with non-toxic, child-safe paints and lacquers. We also encourage suppliers to use eco-friendly compounds wherever possible. For example, Kinderfeets Kinderboards are finished using a water-based lacquer; and Caaocho rubber toys are coloured using food-grade dyes.
- Our suppliers operate ROHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant factories. This industry standard forms part of the European Union's REACH initiative. It minimises (or eliminates) the use of toxic elements during production of base materials, as well as safely controlling their handling and disposal.
- We look for cost effective importing solutions that minimise our carbon footprint. We normally limit our importing to regional factories rather than those located on the opposite side of the planet. We also book ships that sail directly to a port near our warehouse.
- We encourage regional factories using European sourced timber to reduce their carbon footprint by importing raw planks in bulk rather than partially finished components. This increases the volume of goods carried by each vessel.
- Packaging is kept to a minimum. We also recycle surplus cardboard boxes in our warehouse when packing and shipping your order.
- We recycle cardboard, paper, glass and plastics in our own office. We also donate surplus toys or those with the odd cosmetic flaw to local community groups rather than discard them.