• Jiji


The nation's toymakers are increasingly reducing plastic waste amid heightened public interest in environmentally friendly goods.

The trend to reduce the use of plastic materials and to recycle used plastic coincides with the recent mandate for retailers in the country to charge for plastic bags.

Another aim is to nurture a sense of awareness about the environment among children.

Tomy Co., better known as Takara Tomy, designated some 200 of its toys that cleared internal standards for resource-saving and other environmentally friendly practices as "eco-toys," with four of them made of recycled plastic.

The company hopes to create products that are good for the environment, overcoming obstacles such as achieving stable supplies of materials.

It also conducts frequent visits to elementary schools to teach children about reducing the burden on the environment.

"We hope that (children) become aware of the environment through toys," a company representative said.

Import toy retailer BorneLund Inc. has a lineup of environmentally friendly toys including shovels and buckets for use in sandboxes that are made of plant-based plastic.

The range of toys made of wood and cloth, which are popular in Europe, has increased alongside a rise in interest in issues related to plastic waste.

The company said that it is seeing a change in Japanese consumers' awareness, with many customers opting for such products.

The trend to reduce plastic in toys has also spread to the dining industry. At sushi restaurant chain Kura Sushi Inc., the material used for capsules containing prizes for an in-store game was changed from plastic to paper at some stores on a trial basis. The chain has since reverted to using plastic capsules, but it plans to introduce paper capsules again from autumn at more stores.

McDonald's Holdings Co. (Japan) has regularly collected used toys that come with its children's meal sets since 2018, in order to reuse the plastic to make trays.

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