If the toy industry moves away from the notion that plastic is the automatic default material for toys, there is no telling what we may see next.
On July 9 of this year, I published a blog post entitled: "Should We Be Planning for a Future Without Plastic?". The article was inspired by a petition in the U.K. to do away with plastic McDonald's Happy Meal Toys. At that time the petition had secured 325,000 signatures.
The article went on to note that Gen Z and Millennials are urgently concerned about pollution and the carbon footprint (note the recent shaming over celebrities who travel by plane). I ended the article by stating: "Will we see a future without petroleum-based plastics? I think the next five years will tell.
As it turns out, Hasbro is already getting out in front on the issue. They are not stopping the use of plastic in toys, but they are, as of 2020, going to begin ending the use of plastic in packaging. That's according to an article on the WPRI website entitled: "Game over Hasbro giving plastic packaging the boot from toys, games." The piece states that Hasbro "…hopes to eliminate virtually all plastic in its packaging by the end of 2022, including plastic elements like polybags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, window sheets, and blister packs."
If Hasbro is eliminating plastic in packaging, what might be its plans for the toys themselves? And in doing so, will Hasbro be interested in innovative toy concepts that don't just embrace the newest technology or fad but instead different materials? Will they and other toy companies be interested in natural materials like wood or cloth or new synthetic, nature-friendly materials like bioplastics?
If the toy industry moves away from the notion that plastic is the automatic default material for toys, there is no telling what we may see next. I think that it is going to get very interesting.