At the very end of April, we noticed an unexpected, rain-soaked box sitting in the pasture near our ranch entrance that was addressed to me. According to the shipping label it had been left sitting out in the weather for almost two weeks.
I was able to wipe a layer of west Texas grit off the packaging to see that it was a set of toys inside, but I still had to evict some bugs and one large Black Widow spider. As I waited for the wildlife to disperse, there was a bit of concern on my part that there may have been some damage done by the weather.
As I pulled the toy set out of the box it appeared to be intact. Surprisingly, and in what’s one of the oddest coincidences of my lifetime, the box contained a toy set that’s intentionally made for use in conditions quite similar to what it had been sitting in. Well, sans the spider.
No more drama. Okay, maybe a little.
This toy set’s dubbed the OceanBound Tide Pool Set, and it’s designed to be used at the beach or in the bathtub. Despite being filthy, everything was in perfect condition, including the cardboard packaging that wraps entirely around it.
The set is made by a company called GreenToys, who operate in California. They’re ecofriendly — all of their products are made from 100% recycled plastics. In most cases, they use HDPE from recycled milk jugs, althougr they may use a stray yogurt cup or plastic bag, depending on what the particular product requires.
There are tons of cute toys on their website for newborn through about age 8, and not a single one includes screws, paint, batteries, or glue. GreenToys offer molding dough that’s made in a food safe facility with organic flour and food safe ingredients.
They package with recyclable cardboard mostly, but if they need to keep things in place, GreenToys use 100% recycled water bottles. No cellophane, no Styrofoam, no wire twist ties. Even the printing on the packaging is made with soy ink, since it degrades better and more quickly than regular printing ink.
Making bath time eco-friendly
At first glance, this set is simple and user friendly. The thick and textured plastic is designed for 6-month-olds and up, and toddlers who enjoy water play will completely adore them. The whole set is both functional and full of whimsical details that you definitely don’t want to miss.
It’s a seven-piece set that consists of a sturdy storage bucket and six cute and colorful plastic toys. The bucket is made from recycled plastic bags and is nice and airy, to allow water to drain out. Each individual piece is differently molded and is crafted in ways that allow for interesting and unique water play.
Hands down, the two most interesting pieces are shaped like a squid and a jellyfish. Both allow water to spill out across their tentacles, and their bottoms spin. I also love that the jellyfish is the only one that can spout water when turned upside down.
The other four pieces in the OceanBound Tide Pool Set, a starfish and three seashells, are less extravagant but still cute and well-designed. So well-designed that they’re reproduced in another product by GreenToys, called the Tide Pool Bath Set.
What’s in a name?
In fact, even the most discerning eye would be unable to tell that there is any difference in the product at all besides the colors, but they’d be wrong. OceanBound Plastic is actually the product name for an extremely versatile resin that’s created by Envision Plastics. It’s made of material collected from at-risk areas and, thus, prevented from entering waterways or ending up on beaches. It can be recycled repeatedly and creates a circular economy.
One pound of OceanBound Plastic is a pound of plastic that doesn’t make it into the ocean. The OceanBound Tide Pool Set will set you back $19.99, but the “Bath Set” is the exact same price. For the same cost and quality, why not go for the one that prevents plastic waste from entering the ocean?
Is it good?
Overall, I was really pleased with the OceanBound Tide Pool Set. My 2-year-old had an absolute blast playing with them in the tub. Not only would I recommend this set, but honestly anything on the GreenToys website would be a great gift for a special child in your life.
The only concern I see with this set is the price point. It isn’t feasible for everyone to go out and spend twenty bucks on a a few pieces of recycled plastic to play with in the bath.
This sort of thinking is frustrating at best. It pushes the consumer to decide between the planet and their pocket. However, if it’s something you can afford and you’re committed to the cause, this is the perfect set for you.
It would be fabulous to see GreenToys incorporate OceanBound plastic into more of their products. Other companies would do well to incorporate it, too. After all, the only way we can minimize the damage being done to our planet by plastic waste is by working out solutions together.
The commitment that GreenToys makes to our environment is beautiful and brilliant. Let’s hope in the near future more companies will follow suit and begin working toward a greener footprint.
AiPT! Science is co-presented by AiPT! Comics and the New York City Skeptics.
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