The Toy Association Statement on Packaging / Environmental Sustainability

Though toys comprise less than 1 percent of the typical household waste stream, there is an industry-wide understanding that everyone has a role to play in support of sustainability.

For more than 20 years, The Toy Association has worked with its toy company members to strengthen the industry’s commitment to environmental protection. These companies work toward improvement of the environmental impact of their products and activities and are committed to reducing packaging and increasing the use of recycled / biomaterials and renewable energy sources in production, all while continuing to provide safe, quality merchandise that meets customer and consumer needs. Recently, a Smart Packaging Initiative tool was made available to Toy Association members in order to help them better assess the impact their product packaging designs have on the environment, and to encourage them to choose more eco-friendly options.

The toy industry also supports efforts to educate consumers to minimize waste by: (1) using environmentally conscious strategies such as the recycling of packaging materials, and (2) only buying products appropriate and needed for their family. We support the leveraging of existing recycling infrastructures and encourage consumer curbside collections of recyclable components and packaging, as these are the most efficient means for addressing consumer waste, allowing packaging to be re-used in the production of other products. We also support efforts to create new partnerships and opportunities for innovative products and packages that can be reused or used for new product raw materials.

The industry has been working for some time to reduce packaging; however, it should be noted that packaging also plays a vital role in assuring that a toy reaches the consumer in the same form that it left quality control at a manufacturing site. Tamper-resistant packaging ensures that a product is not lost, broken, or damaged during shipping and display, and that small products or those that have multiple components are received in their intended state and are operational and safe upon purchase.

Packaging also helps mitigate counterfeiting and theft and ensures that the consumer clearly understands the intended use and design of the product. Certain elements of product packaging ― including age grading, warning labels, and other important safety and usage instructions ― are required by existing regulations and safety standards. Mandates to reduce packaging or deselect certain materials could jeopardize the placement of vital warnings and could undermine the safe use of certain products.

The Toy Association’s Environmental Sustainability Committee continues to help members opt for more sustainable material and packaging choices and is making significant progress in reducing the environmental impact of Toy Association events such as the North American International Toy Fair.

This statement was reaffirmed by The Toy Association in September 2019.