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Filtering by Category: Product Review

Inspirational Wooden Toys

Bart Munro

Transient

 by Bart Munro

I first met the founders of Tegu, Chris & Will Haughey, about 2 years ago on brisk fall evening in upstate New York.  Seated at a hefty oak table near a roaring fire in the lodge’s great room, Will pulled out a box and said “would you like to see our newest product?”.  

What a perfect setting to be introduced to Tegu.  The company’s flagship products are wooden building blocks with embedded rare earth magnets.  Delivered in refreshing color combinations like jungle, mahogany (yes, real mahogany), and pastel tints, Tegu delivers on its vision to build toys which inspire adults and kids alike and last for generations.

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Beyond inspiring with beautiful, well-designed and unique products, though, a core part of Tegu’s mission is to provide sustainable work, living wages, and life development for the people of Honduras.  The company’s factory (where all the wooden blocks are made by hand) is located in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where co-founder Chris Haughey relocated to Honduras with his family to lead the operations.

In addition to its factory, Tegu partners with local schools in Honduras and donates a portion of its revenue to re-forestation of the area.

If you're looking for a safe, durable toy for the little ones in your life, or looking for a great gift for a colleague, these are a great option.  

Tegu’s products can be ordered from Amazon or directly from their website.  Their pocket pouch makes a great gift for business associates, and the 4-packs are perfect stocking stuffers!

 

 

 

Innovative Green Toys

Seth Strickland

Green Toys 1.png

by Jessica Munro

“When you buy one of our products, you’re buying peace of mind,” states Green Toys founder, Robert von Goeben. It’s not just the safety and sustainability of the materials used in the toys— recycled milk jugs—that put parents’ minds at ease, but also the company’s ethos of sustainability employed in their production. Von Goeben and Laurie Hyman are pioneers in a movement of entrepreneurs who weave triple-bottom-line thinking—people, planet, profit—into the very fabric of their organization and recognize the long-term implications of their choices.

The Green Toys idea was inspired by cofounder, Laurie Hyman, as she looked around her children’s playroom and saw the huge need to "find my way out [of] this plastic wasteland to a healthier, safer place for both my children and the planet." 

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Green Toys have forged the category of eco-friendly toys. Far from merely greenwashing their merchandise to ride the environmentally conscious wave, Green Toys products and made from 100% recycled plastic. The recycled mild jugs used in Green Toys are made with high-density polyethylene (or HDPE) that is food-safe and contains no bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or melamine. But the green story doesn't stop there.  

All Green Toys and Green Eats products are packaged in 100% recyclable corrugated cardboard boxes, which use no plastics, cellophane, or twist-ties and are printed with soy inks. IN addition, they keep the whole supply chain, from raw material to fulfillment, within the same US state to reduce emissions in the transportation of goods. 

Applying thoughtful design to every step of playroom and saw the huge need to “find my way out this plastic wasteland to a healthier, safer place production and distribution is a recent trend that has been advanced by outdoor clothing leaders for both my children and the planet.”

Patagonia and Icebreaker.

Patagonia applies rigorous social and environmental standards for supply guarantees and sustainable farming practices. Consumers want to know the impact their purchasing choices make on people and the planet, and they are beginning to expect radical supply chain transparency. Green Toys chooses to manufacture all their products locally, providing hundreds of jobs to Americans. Having local factories enables the leadership of Green Toys to be present on the factory floor to ensure that production standards are upheld and employees are treated fairly.

Education is part of the very essence of Green Toys, which are ‘de-designed’ to maintain the simplicity that promotes open play and imagination. In addition, Green Toys affords parents an educational moment when explaining how “this milk jug you put in the recycling bin could one day become another toy like your Green Toys Recycling Truck.” Children are empowered by knowing that even their small choices can have an impact. Of the 33.6 million tons of plastic Americans discard each year, only 6.5% of this is recycled. An increase in recycling would provide more affordable post-consumer materials for companies like Green Toys. 

While priced about 20%-30% higher than non-green alternatives, Green Toys believes parents are willing to pay a little more as an investment in a company who anticipates the concerns of tomorrow. Green Toys encourages parents to represent their values through their purchasing choices.

Launched in 2009, the Green Toys Recycling Truck may now be the best-known eco-toy on the planet. The company has received more than 60 awards to date, including Parenting Magazine’s Best Toys of the Year, Dr. Toy’s Green Toy Company of the Year, and several Gold Awards from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. The company also received a Greener Packaging Award for best practices in sustainable packaging.

Things we love about Green Toys:

  • You can trust the food-grade quality of the materials for your little ones— no BPA, phthalates, PVC or melamine.
  • Toys are made from 100% post-consumer plastic.
  • Increasing the demand for post-consumer plastic encourages recycling and helps drive down the price to make it an affordable input for other companies
  • Frustration-free packaging taken to the next level—no plastics, cellophane or twist-ties and printed with soy inks.
  • Reduced footprint in local sourcing and manufacturing—no shipping from China
  • Local job creation based on their commitment to keep the supply chain from raw material to fulfillment within the same US state.
  • Promotes learning—children who play with Green Toys know that their choice to recycle can truly make a difference.

Entrepreneurs, take note! This holistic approach to the design of both your product and your organizational infrastructure is the way forward. Consumers demand it and society and the planet benefit.

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 This post is a reprint from the inaugural Issue no. 1, which is available in our store  and in the iTunes store. For more excellent, helpful, and thoughtful content like this and so much more, subscribe today. 

 

Grain Grinding: A Healthy Alternative

Bart Munro

Transient

Grinding your own grain - simple, healthy, even beautiful.

By Bart Munro

I first encountered the concept of grinding my own grain while visiting my sister (who has 9 kids).  I was amazed -- with all the things happening in her family, how did she have time to grind her own grain?  “It’s easy, we make pancakes, cookies, muffins, bread, and more,” she announces,  “it’s no more effort than grinding your own coffee!”

There’s a lot of buzz around buying whole grain flour, bread, cereals, etc (which are much better than traditional “white” flour products.)  As it turns out though, we’re still missing out on significant nutrition and flavor benefits, unless we actually grind the grain ourselves.

Within 24 hours of grain being milled (broken open and exposed to air), 40% of all micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals are lost. By 72 hours, this is up to 90%.  By grinding your own grain right as you need it, all these nutrients are still intact!

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Natural wheat germ oils also don’t preserve well on the store shelf, becoming rancid and bitter tasting.  Grinding your own grain delivers the freshest and best possible taste!

If you need help convincing your spouse, roommate, (or yourself), the LA Times makes a detailed case in  “Flour Power:  The joy of grinding your own”.

There are many types of grain you can try grinding at home:  white wheat, red wheat, spelt, kamut, buckwheat, oats … even rice and lentils.

One of my favorite recipe and how-to sites is Bread Beckers, so you can put your new flours to the test.

And you can find some electric grain grinders with stunning looks.  I LOVE my Komo Magic.


KoMo Magic Mill
$514.49
KoMo