The Reef Rescue Crew and the Reef Express – 100% Recycled Plastic Toys
- Happy Planet Toys
The Reef Rescue Crew and the Reef Express are colourful bath toys made from recycled plastic and the first products to be launched by Happy Planet Toys – a forward-thinking Australian start up.
This flagship product range meets the need for safe, imagination-stimulating, fun and durable toys for pre-schoolers, while addressing consumer concerns about plastic waste.
Developing these toys has been a complex process, due to the material properties of the recycled plastic, as well as the imperative of creating a product that will appeal to the target audience, meet relevant safety standards, and meet our sustainability objectives.
Considering the Australian recycling crisis, these toys demonstrate how purposeful design can meet the need for compelling ‘upcycled’ products, supporting the transition to a circular economy.
Complex 3D CAD sculpting created characters with organic forms that project playful personalities and spark imaginations.
Our designers and manufacturers worked closely together to ensure the forms were suitable for tooling and efficient manufacture.”
Care was taken to ensure the toys are robust for long life, and that no paints, adhesives or fasteners inhibit end-of-life recyclability.
The aquatic theme encourages children to consider their engagement with, and connection to, the natural environment.
Over two years of R&D, we’ve proven the manufacturability of high-quality toys using recycled materials, while meeting all relevant safety standards.
Each set uses the equivalent of 8 milk containers. This pulls raw material out of the waste stream, while reducing demand for virgin material, effectively doubling the environmental benefit.
Happy Planet Toys is a new brand with a singular purpose and unique product, and early indications from our audience shows equal or greater appeal to new plastic toys.
We’ve set a new standard for sustainable toys and an example to industry in Australia and around the world.
As this is the first offering of a new product-based start up, getting the design right has been critical.
With no baseline data utilising this material for this application, a fast and iterative prototyping design approach was taken to optimize production.
Once the design started to take shape, and was meeting all our criteria, the project started gaining momentum and has solidified the vision for our brand.
The toy range is fun, colourful and full of personality, so makes the other aspects of building the brand, including marketing, more enjoyable.
We are already working on other products for the range.
Our toys are made from BPA-free, Australian recycled plastic.
Our aspirational target of a 100% recycled material product led to exploration and refinement of various designs options like custom clips and heat stakes to deliver the functional and aesthetic requirements.
Other sustainable toys (ie wooden toys) can be prohibitively expensive and still use virgin material. Our pricing is consistent with new plastic toys, making a sustainable purchasing decision easier.
The strong functionality and characterisation of the toys support a recycling storytelling opportunity.
The environmental impact of the toy industry is shocking – statistics suggest approximately 10 million toys end up in landfill annually.
Therefore a critical component of the design was to ensure no additional parts (such as bolts, screws or other non-recyclable materials) were required.
This 100% recycled plastic design philosophy enables recycling of the toys at the end of their useful life, thereby supporting the circular economy.