Waste materials reprocessor Axion Polymers which is part of the Axion Group has announced that it has developed the ‘first post-consumer recycled plastic’ that is safe enough to use in toys.
Developed as a new varient of the high-grade recycled polymer, Axpoly r-PS01 is derived from plastic used in fridge liners, and is reportedly safe enough to use in toys as well as food products.
Toys have a poor sustainability reputation, as they must comply with the British Standard testing ‘BS EN 71-3’ under the Toy Safety Directive. The test requires manufacturers to ensure that there is no chemical migration from toys (which could potentially harm humans if ingested) As such, toy manufacturers use virgin plastics to ensure the provenance and chemical composition of the material used.
However, by using plastic from fridge liners, which itself has to be of a safe enough standard to be used near food (and thus have no chemical migration), Axion says it has developed the ‘first post-consumer recycled plastic that also meets the stringent EN71 safety standards’. The polymer has reportedly been ‘externally tested to verify its compliance with the ‘chemical migration’ tests that form part of the standard’. A variation of the material has already been used to make ‘plastic extruded’ pencils. Axion’s Commercial Operation Manager, Steve Bell explains: “When we supplied Axpoly r-PS01 to a global stationery product manufacturer for its range of sustainable splinter-free pencils, we had to satisfy the toy standards because people put them in their mouths and chew them.
“Because the polymer is sourced from fridge linings that come into contact with food, it would never have contained any potentially harmful heavy metals from the outset, making it ideal for ‘closed-loop’ reuse in new items, such as toys, gifts and gadgets.”
Axion has said it has now supplied 120 tonnes of the polymer to a ‘Far Eastern producer for a moulding application in the promotional gift industry’. The items produced include a spinning top and collectable grocery miniatures.
Speaking about the toy-grade polymer, Axion Director Keith Freegard said: “Proving the EN 71 standard had been met was the key order-winning aspect for the ultimate customer of the moulder, a large supermarket chain in central Europe. They had insisted that the moulder used a plastic that was both ‘recycled’ and able to meet the European toy standards. Axpoly r-PS01 was the only material available that ‘hit the spot’ on both counts, so we won the order on that basis.
“As a result, we have high hopes that our recycled white polymer, which can be coloured to any desired shade, will gain wider acceptance and welcome enquiries from other product manufacturers in the toy or promotional gift market”, he added.
Axion is now working to satisfy the revised specifications for the toy safety standard, which are set to be announced in July.
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