Found in every child’s room and on almost every Christmas wish list: Toy figures from Schleich. The toy manufacturer has now set itself the goal of manufacturing toys and packaging only from recycled or bio-based materials. There is also a change in the use of paint.
Toy manufacturer Schleich has set a goal to make its toys more sustainable. “Our goal is to only use sustainable materials.As a first step, all of our figures will be recyclable or biodegradable by the end of 2027. We are also working hard to find recycled or bio-based material for the future production of our toys,” explains Schleich CEO Dirk Engehausen. In addition, and to ensure the reuse of resources, Schleich is optimizing and certifying its products and packaging according to the principles of the Cradle to Cradle circular economy by the end of 2027, it says. Among other things, this means that Schleich figures will be recycled without any loss of quality. To achieve this, Schleich works closely with the consulting institute EPEA GmbH.
The durable and timeless Schleich figures have been passed down from generation to generation for decades and thus have a significantly smaller ecological footprint compared to many other toys. The aim of the new strategy is to minimize this footprint even further. The first measurable successes are already visible through the reduction of plastic content in packaging, Engehausen said. “We are researching durable and resource-saving materials for products and packaging. In as little as five years, our figurines will not only be recyclable or biodegradable, but thanks to the implementation of Cradle to Cradle principles, we are also ensuring that Schleich figurines are returned to the product cycle at the end of their lives, so that a Schleich figurine can ideally be turned into a new Schleich figurine made from the same high-quality material. We firmly believe that only with this holistic approach can we contribute to a more sustainable toy industry.”
Turning a dinosaur into a dino
“Sustainability is a journey and in the coming years we will take important steps on this path. Our products are so durable and of such high quality that they are already thrown away only in exceptional cases. If this does happen, the consistent implementation of Cradle to Cradle design principles can ideally turn a Schleich dinosaur into a Schleich dinosaur again – or a lion, a horse, a unicorn, instead of a product with lower material quality,” says Dr. Philipp Hummel, Head of Sustainability at Schleich. The first prototypes that meet the high safety requirements for children’s toys already exist. “In addition to materials and production conditions, our focus is on social justice issues at our sites and with our partners.”
Less plastic and water-based paints
By 2025, all Schleich packaging will be recyclable. Starting in 2023, the company will use only cardboard that is FSC-certified for its packaging, he said. Compared to 2020, the company says it has already reduced the amount of plastic in all packaging by about 20 percent. For example, the inside of Schleich Advent calendars will be made from cardboard from 2022. This will save just under 40 tons of plastic per year. The toy manufacturer can point to major progress in the area of paints: “From 2022, we will start painting our products with water-based paint. In addition, we are developing a paint with our partners that will be Cradle to Cradle certified,” explains Hummel.