When you open your eyes and start looking round, there really is a lot of plastic used in our world. And nowhere more than for products for children and babies. Any regular plastic toy that you’ve played with or given as a gift until now was made from petrochemicals. That’s right, the root of your favourite childhood rattle, action figure or doll’s house was derived from oil and/or natural gas. These conventional plastic toys rely on these increasingly scarce resources and in the process of being manufactured can cause between two and seven times their own weight in greenhouse gases to be emitted into our atmosphere. Today's Headliners are Bioserie, a Hong Kong based product development firm, who are dedicated to the manufacture of 100% bio-based toys and baby products. Our Editor Luke Upton speaks to the team at Bioserie and learns more about the story behind their toys made exclusively with natural and plant-based renewable resources.
The Bioserie journey began in 2010, with their first product, a bioplastic cover for iPhone 3GS. The fledgling start-up continued to develop phone covers, earning nominations for a number of global bioplastic innovation awards. As the technology behind the business grew, an idea began to form - of diversifying into consumer products and the path quickly led to products for children and babies.
We asked Kaya Kaplancali Co-Founder and COO at Bioserie ( @ ) what led to the development of their toy range; “Oil based plastics contain potentially hazardous chemicals for human health, as suggested by numerous respectable studies published within the last two decades. Our Bioplastic products contain none of those hazardous petrochemicals. We hope to accelerate the recognition and adoption of bioplastic products by addressing the needs of consumers who are sensitive about the safety and toxicity of the products they buy for their children. In other words, inherent safety of bioplastics help us shine so it’s easier to tell our story to consumers who are not familiar with this new and innovative industry.
Stephanie Triau, co-founder and brand CEO of Bioserie added: "As a parent, it's very hard to know for sure that a product won't have any negative health effects on your baby now or later. The information on toy packages is either inadequate, too technical for a normal person to understand or at times misleading. This problem is eliminated with Bioserie’s use of plant-based materials that are naturally free of any harmful substances associated with oil-based plastics.”
Bioserie uses a special blend of modified PLA (Polylactic Acid) that contains no petrochemical additives. Modifiers ensure Bioserie products to be non-brittle and heat resistant and are produced exclusively with natural and plant-based renewable resources, producing considerably less greenhouse gas emissions in the value chain and the preventing the use of harmful substances such as BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Styrenes and heavy metals.
There are no oil-based chemicals used during the manufacturing process to “enhance” the performance or colour of the product, because we developed our own manufacturing technology to achieve the performance level we need without resorting to any oil-based chemical “enhancers”. Even the colouring materials used are specially developed for biopolymers; they are based on sustainable raw materials and meet several global industry and composting standard. Furthermore, their products are tested and certified by trusted third parties to be free of any oil-based chemicals.
And there’s another important feature BioSerie are very proud of… children will want to actually play with their toys! Bioserie’s founders have had their own experience of looking for the right toys for their own babies. Aside from the safety aspect, they have noticed that many toys that they originally found nice and beautiful just… weren’t actually played with!
In developing their toys, Bioserie consulted with infant development specialists, childcare professionals, designers during the concept phase. They learnt a lot about what works while playing with their own babies and are doing their best to bring to life the ideal essentials that will support other babies’ early discoveries.
Another area that all parents are aware of as a challenge is hygiene. Some toys are not easy to clean, because of how they are made. Because Bioserie’s toys contain no paint and are resistant to heat they can even be cleaned in the dishwasher. This also makes them easy to share with others – in pre-school/nurseries environments or within the family and friends circle.
The new line represents a significant milestone in Bioserie's diversification into new consumer product markets. Already the first toy brand to receive USDA’s 100% Biobased Certification ( @ ), it also marks the advent of fully bio-based toys and nursing aids in a market still dominated by petro-based plastic products.
To conclude we ask Kaya Kaplancalı where he’d like to see Bioserie in five year’s; “We would like Bioserie to have a firm foothold on baby products market, worldwide. We would like to become a well-recognised durable consumer products brand and our sights are set on diversifying into other durable consumer product categories in the future. It is particularly exciting to make a point that it is possible to develop and run a business that truly respects our planet and the health of its inhabitants.”
Stephanie Triau, Co-founder and Brand CEO of Bioserie will be speaking at Bio-Based Products World in Amsterdam on 24-25th May 2016. Stephanie will be joining leaders from Ikea, BASF, Ynsect, Neste, Kingfisher, Ecover and many more. Click here all the details of this landmark new event where brands and retailers learn sustainable strategies and uncover bio-based alternatives.
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