The Toy Fair 2020 - eco friendly island

The overwhelming sensation when I stepped into the Toy Fair was a concentrated reek of plastic. Not as bad as the nostril assault that hits you in the Pound Shop - but intense. It is shocking how many toys are made from plastic. I love the colour and texture of plastic but hate the impact on the environment.

Sticky dough made from micro plastic pieces

At least doll collectors save every tiny, odd bit of plastic doll ephemera they find, in case it's the missing puzzle piece from a collectable outfit. I do love the thrill of picking out some tiny, cracker quality trinket, and saving it as treasure.

Despite the masses of companies selling plastic toys, there were a few heros at the Toy Fair 2020 working hard to turn things around.

Jiminy eco toys co-founder Sharon Keilthy

Jiminy eco toys co-founder Sharon Keilthy is a proud and proactive eco-specialist who sells and distributes 'guilt-free and worry-free' toys and craft supplies for kids. 

Binabo eco friendly toys

In her display were some construction toy playthings called Binabo, made from a substance that felt and acted like plastic, but was called Arboblend®. It is advertised as 100% from renewable raw materials (wood and sugar). Checking her website I found that Jiminy even offer this toy to rent for parties! What a great idea.

Play Press make these satisfying little figures. They come on a flat piece of pre-cut card and you push the parts out and slot them together. I like all the accessories for this hospital scene.

Play Press doctor and nurse figures

 Using a similar method, Robotime offer whimsical little indoor scenes a bit like tiny film sets.

Here's a bookshop scene.

Bookshop model from Rolife

 And a delightful city home called Dora's Loft.

DIY house Dora's Loft by Robotime

Look at these tempting crafty packs of bits used to make up the teeny rooms:

Printed kit sheet

Pack of crafty bits for mini house kits.

 And a magnificent mechanical air ship made from wooden pieces.

Mechanical airship made from a wooden kit.

The knockout eco-friendly range for me, was Dodoland's EUGY collection. I just loved the character design and was also fascinated by the construction method. They are kit toys, but instead of slotting together, they are built by layering pieces of shaped card. 

 I brought home a free turtle, but it was already made! I think I would have preferred to get the flat pack and will look out for the new line in the UK, where it will be distributed by Brainstorm. Each toy fits in your hand and they're just so snug!

Zebra Eugy toy

Turtle Eugy toy

Shark Eugy toy

Turtle Eugy toy pack

Another approach to paper toy kits was the score and fold method, presented here by Paper Engine's very own paper engineer Keith in the form of a working telescope. I notice the company was mentioned in the BBC's article Would Greta Thunberg's generation play with these toys? which explores the new wave of eco-friendly toys and the challenges on the toy industry to be more sustainable.

 Paper Engine telescope

It would be great to see some 1:6 and 1:12 scale doll furniture created in card kits!





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