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Toys ‘R Us and Wal-Mart go green

toysusandgogreen.jpgSome mainstream retail chains have decided to do their part in joining in the green movement. Some new lines and promotions are being launched just in time for Earth Day (April 22).

Toys ?R Us has always claimed to be the ?world?s greatest toy store?. It?s a great place to find just about anything your kids see on commercials (and must have). It?s the place to go for well-known brands like Mattel, Hasbro, Parker Brothers, popular action figures, Barbies, character-themed toys (ie: Batman, Power Rangers, My little Pony, Bratz, etc.) and larger items such as bikes, ride-on toys and swing sets.

Most aisles are loaded with brightly colored, often plastic, toys. Just in time for Earth Day, though, the mega chain is launching their new non-toxic, organic line of toys. Many of the items are made of natural, recycled materials and are dye- and chemical-free. The line includes wooden and plush toys. This new line is also in response to the recent alarming recalls of unsafe toys made in China.

Wal-Mart, never one of my favorite stores, has gained a bit of respect in my eyes, now that I?ve learned of their efforts to be environmentally friendly. On Saturday, April 19th, the chain will give away a million custom-made, reusable shopping bags, made from recycled materials. They normally sell these bags for $1. A recent ad they ran stated that plastic bags can take as long as 1,000 years to degrade: convincing evidence that we should all opt for fabric totes when we shop!

Wal-Mart recently published an insert in parenting magazines, listing several of their green, yet affordable products, including some for parents and babies. Their own brand of baby wipes, Parent?s Choice, are made with organic cotton and natural fibers, which make them gentler for baby and the environment. I was very surprised to learn that they are 100% biodegradable in 30 days. The store is even selling Horizon organic milk these days. A recent ad stated that this brand of milk is made with the help of 450 certified organic farms and that Horizon Organic is working with and helping even more farms to transition to organic methods.

Other earth-friendly, Fair Trade and certified organic items at Wal-Mart include coffee, cleaning products, some lines of clothing and some gardening/planting materials.

It?s still cool to support small, local businesses but now you can also do some good by shopping at mega-chains…go figure!

To take a peek at the new Toys ?R Us natural toy line, go to www.toysrus.com and click on ?natural toys?.

For more information on Wal-Mart?s green products, visit www.walmart.com/green.


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