bio!TOY 2023 is over and was again a great success. More than 100 gathered in Nuremberg (or online) for this unique event.
You can still order the access to the video recordings of all presentations. This will be available approximately after April 3rd. Questions can still be asked via the SLIDO App and will be answered by the speakers via-mail. You can buy the ticket here.
You will also get the handbook and the full list of all attendees. Networking among all (on-site and online) attendees and speakers will still be possible for a few months via the WHOVA app and platform
From left: Michael Thielen, Sonia Sánchez, Sharon Keilthy, Harald Kaeb (photo: TOYS, Alfred Kirst)
Just a few of the speakers at bio!TOY 2023 (photos: TOYS, Alfred Kirst and bio!TOY-team)
Plastic is by far the most commonly used material for toys. However, the widespread criticism of plastics has not left the industry unscathed. Manufacturers such as Lego or Mattel have announced that in future they will only use alternative materials that do not come from fossil raw material sources.
Recyclability, the use of recycled or renewable raw materials, as well as significantly lower CO2 emissions are important new development goals. After the first two bio!TOY conferences in 2019 and 2021, which were successful with more than 110 participants, manufacturers of sustainable plastics and toys again exchanged news and experiences from 21 to 22 March 2023. The meeting in Nuremberg (hybrid, i.e. on-site and online) was supported by important industry platforms and interest groups (such as DVSI, Spielwarenmesse, Agency for Renewable resources FNR).
Harald Kaeb, Sustainability consultant and Co-organizer:
“If we act now, but really ‘act now’ not wait much longer, we can still keep the fall out of the climate crisis in a dimension that is not too painful and not too chaotic”.
Sonia Sánchez, Impact & Sustainability consultant:
“It is in the toy industry’s DNA that we can’t compromise on safety – a part of this is due to regulations that say, ‘this is the way it needs to be’. Many seem to say ‘sustainability is important but don’t push me too much because we cannot compromise on safety’. I think we need to reframe this mindset – sustainability is safety in the long term. Sustainability and climate change are a matter of safety. The truth is that for some children in countries affected by climate change, it is not even a long-term consideration of safety – it is a matter that affects them today”.
Christian Ruthard, Product Manager at INEOS Styrolution:
“There are some solutions available now, and there are some solutions available in maybe 5 years – but we don’t have time to wait 5 years, we see climate change is increasing more and more, we need to be able to offer solutions now. Right now, we can offer mechanical recycling and bio-attribution where we use renewable materials, but that doesn’t mean we will stop there, it’s just a simpler solution to get started right now”.
“Mass balance is probably the most complex technology to communicate, but in my point of view, it is the quickest solution to save CO2 emissions. As a scientist, I believe it should be the solution we use right now because it is implementable quickly. Whether or not it is accepted really depends on the customer, some see the value of it some do not yet”.
Søren Kristiansen, Senior Director of Technology at The Lego Group:
“I think communication is much more complicated than finding a new polymer. The basic rule is: say what you do. Without using too fancy words while being as concrete as possible”.
“For me as a technician, plastic is a material that you use if you want to make the products that we are making, large volumes of precise elements which are safe and not too heavy. Plastics are wonderful materials – but obviously we should avoid, that plastics end up in the wrong places such as the environment”.
Alexander Kronimus, Managing Director for Sustainability at Plastics Europe (Germany):
“The toy industry and plastics industry have common goals”.
“Mass balance is a method to scale up new technologies and I think we need to speed up the scale-up”.
“Taxes or other financial incentives to promote more recycling or more biobased materials can help, but we need to be very careful what we are actually incentivising with a tax on a single material like for example a plastic tax – that might lead to the rise of alternative materials that are not necessarily more sustainable. We have to be careful to not move backwards with such financial instruments. Instead of increasing the taxes for the things we want to avoid we could try to follow the US model by decreasing taxes for sustainable technologies to foster investment there”.
“A global CO2 tax is the vision of my sleepless nights, it’s the perfect instrument it would create a perfectly even playing field worldwide. It’s still a dream, but we can make steps towards that dream”.
Rafaela Hartenstein, Sr. Director Government & Corporate Affairs, EurAsia at Hasbro:
“Even as a global player in the toy industry our need for materials seems large to us, but we are a small fish in the ocean of the plastics industry. Horizontal legislation could fix that – making it an even playing field, then we would all sit in the same boat – right now, we are not”.
“Sector-specific legislation and horizontal legislation are not really aligned. Substances in many recycled materials are in direct conflict with toy safety regulations. If an orange was a toy, it would be banned. That is how strict the regulations are”.
“It’s all about collaborations at some point having one sustainable material will not be an advantage anymore – if we all work in silos, we all have to do the same learning. The more knowledge we have the more swarm intelligence we can use and get creative with it. We saw with covid how fast we can act if we collaborate”.
Filippo Gallizia, CEO at Geomag:
“We cannot be educational without being sustainable”.
“Sustainability means the reduction of emissions – all the rest is bla-bla, it’s nothing”.
“We cannot take care of the healthy growth of kids without taking care of the planet – it’s a simple idea, but difficult to be achieved”.
Maarit Nyman, Senior Expert on Bioeconomy at DG Grow of the European Commission:
“We know that there is a need for a level playing field, we know that the fossil-based industries have an advantage over biobased industries and biobased materials. There is a question of what kind of tools, what kind of policies and what kind of mix is optimal – that is a tricky question”.
“What we do in practical terms to help with the green transition is to give a roadmap – a transition pathway, and these are very concrete for member states, for the commission for different industries or for everybody to implement”.
“Actions and proposals need to be based on broad cooperation, no industry can do it alone, all stakeholders have to cooperate be it public authorities or member states – which is not easy”.
Sharon Keilthy, CEO of Jimminy Eco Toys:
“A lot of toy makers are saying there is not enough safe recycled plastic around. Maybe I am ignorant, but the role of regulation is not to reflect the current state of the industry – the role of regulation is to affect the future, to create that supply of safe recycled plastics and to fix the associated cost problem”.
Please note, that there are two days ...
Subject to changes. The programme will continuously be updated. Soon a timetable will follow.
Special discounts are available for freelance toydesigners, very small businesses (up to three employees) and students. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The third bio!TOY was again held as a hybrid event (on-site and digital) in the Arvena Park Hotel in Nuremberg, Germany.
Arvena Park Hotel
Goerlitzer Strasse 51
90473 Nuremberg, Germany
+49 911 / 8922 - 0
A press release about the success and the contents of the event is available here:
Press releases before the event
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