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Biodegradable Beach Toys: Safe for Kids and Oceans

by Elke Erschfeld

Did you ever wonder what happens to children’s plastic toys that are accidentally left on the beach? I never did until I stopped by Zoë b Organic at NY NOW (formerly NYIGF) last month. The eco-friendly company had little containers as part of their display that demonstrated what could be found in our marine waters: little bits and pieces of plastic. Seeing this was quite an eye-opening experience since I know how easy it is to forget things on the beach.

Basically what happens is that conventional plastics found in plastic bags or bottles photodegrade (instead of biodegrade) once released into the ocean. They break down into smaller and smaller pieces with sunlight, which takes an estimated 500 years. These pieces can then be mistaken for food by marine life, like seabirds, marine mammals or sea turtles, with fatal consequences.

Dedicated to protecting and preserving the world’s oceans and beaches, the non-profit environmental organization Surfrider Foundation shares some shocking facts about plastic pollution on their site. For starters, plastic is the most common type of marine litter worldwide, and 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources. That’s why the idea to create beach toys made from biodegradable plastic is such a genius idea. The Fantastic Beach Toys by Zoë b Organic are made with Mirel bioplastic from corn. If they are washed out into the ocean, they will fully biodegrade in 2 to 3 years because they are made from plants—not petroleum like conventional plastic.

The cute and eco-friendly toys are designed by Ceci Gomez and manufactured by Zöe b Organic. Every 5-piece set includes a bucket, sifter/lid, shovel and 2 cups, and comes in turquoise/lime or pink/orange. They are made in the U.S. and not China, which keeps their carbon footprint down and supports local economies. Then, of course, there’s the scenario that you won’t leave your toys on the beach. You can either donate them after your children outgrow them or simply let them biodegrade in your compost after their useful life. Zoë b Beach Toys make taking care of your children and the planet fun.

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