Plastic Water Bottles…
Let me ask you to picture that word for a minute in association with plush toys…
As a business owner who’s looking to buy wholesale stuffed animals, it wouldn’t be easy. Plastic water bottles isn’t the first word that normally comes to mind when you think about products that are soft and squishable.
In fact, even trying to associate a hard substance like plastic with plush toys can appear to be counter-intuitive. On top of that, most of your customers, if asked, would no doubt consider ‘green toys’ to be plastic free.
Now think about plastic water bottles in the context of being eco-friendly…
If you had to make a list of eco-friendly materials, you might include bamboo, reclaimed wood or wool. Plastic would be lucky if it got more than a passing thought.
We need less plastic in the world, not more. Much of our planet is being inundated with discarded plastic products, to the point where we’re being overwhelmed and unsure of how to make significant inroads into dealing with this issue.
Until recently, any knowledgeable person who was asked these questions would come to the same conclusions.
But one company has led the way in thinking outside the box, to change perceptions and processes around using plastic to make sustainable plush toys – and that company is Wild Republic.
Turning a Problem into a Solution
One of our planet’s biggest plastic waste issues is the blasé throw away culture our society has developed around the disposal of plastic water bottles. Research shows that up to 400 million of them end up as waste annually.
At Wild Republic, we’re pro-actively doing something meaningful to address this bottle problem because being focused on the environment is in our DNA.
Since our inception over 40 years, Wild Republic has been a world leader in combining conservation with toy manufacturing. During the past decade, we’ve looked at ways to ramp up our sustainability approach – including deciding to repurpose plastic water bottles to make our plush animals.
In manufacturing our new eco-friendly soft toys, we had two important non-negotiables in addition to our regular processes. One was that they needed to be made of 100% recycled materials – with a major focus on using recycled water bottles.
The other was that we weren’t prepared to make any compromises in quality, make no sacrifices in our sustainable soft toys’ softness and cuddliness. Our brand is all about quality and trust – and that means ensuring an exceptional user experience for all the kids that play and snuggle with our plush animals.
Before we started full production and marketing of our new products, we put them through a quality control process. Our entire range passed both tests with flying colours.
The Ecokins Brand
In 2019, we launched our Ecokins wholesale stuffed toys made from recycled materials, the first of their kind on the market. Both the fill inside and the plush outer fabric are made from material that comes from recycled plastic water bottles.
These eco-friendly living nature toys come in two different sizes – 8 inches (20.32 cm) and 12 inches (30.48 cm). For the smaller stuffed toys, 7 recycled plastic water bottles are used, whereas for the larger ones, the number is 16.
Up until now, almost 9 million plastic water bottles have been repurposed in the manufacturing of Ecokins sustainable plush toy animals.
The inner bags and packaging for these toys are biodegradable. The eyes of all of the animals are stitched with recycled polyester thread and the dye colours are made of soy. The price tags are made of recycled cardboard.
It goes without saying that creating this new line of sustainable material toys was costly. Yet Wild Republic was absolutely determined not to pass the costs on to you. We absorbed them and focused on being affordable and on making profits through increased sales rather than increased prices.
In 2021, we added some new members to our Ecokins family of living nature toys – a black brown and gold mother bee with her baby and five different hanging monkeys. They include a sloth, orangutan, chimp, ring tailed lemur and white handed gibbon.
Just like all our other Ecokins plush animals, these new family members are made to the strictest toy safety standards. They too are made from 100% recycled materials and have the same soft, cuddly feel that kids love when you pick them up.
To see a catalogue of our entire range of Ecokins sustainable soft toys, please click here.
Our Global Message
Something to consider…
If all plush toys were made from recycled plastic bottles, think about how much plastic wouldn’t be going into landfills and the ocean. What a difference that would make!
Our founder G.B. Pillai made a Promise to the Planet when he first opened his doors, an action statement that we at Wild Republic have all taken to heart and live on a daily basis. We’re passionate about encouraging everyone to contribute to making our world more sustainable.
At Wild Republic, ‘caring for the environment’ are not just buzz words or a matter of trying to be politically correct. We take our self-appointed duty of leading the toy industry away from actions that devastate our world very seriously.
We constantly strive to find innovative ways to reduce pollution and waste. And we view our wholesale children’s toys buyers as joint stewards of our planet, like-minded eco-conscious partners who work with us to embrace sustainable materials.