Wooden role-play toy manufacturers are investing in sustainable, nonpolluting and recyclable elements.
China suppliers of wooden role-play toys are switching to environment-friendly materials in compliance with the latest local regulations.
As of June 1, 2010, the country’s State Environmental Protection Administration required makers to utilize FSC-certified lumber. The trees should come from sustainable forests and must not be illegally logged, transgenic or of high reserve value.
Moreover, fire retardants and antiseptics cannot be used during wood processing. Heavy metal and organic compound levels are sternly controlled.
Manufacturers are also employing environment-friendly paint such as water-based types that are odorless and release fewer pollutants. In addition, they conform to SEPA limitations on the amount of lead, arsenic and mercury in colorants that are potential ecological and health hazards.
Further, more suppliers are utilizing recyclable packaging or those free of halogen compounds.
Wooden role-play toys in China are available in soft, hard and nonsolid lumber variants.
The first includes pine, beech and rubberwood. Pine boasts a fine color and texture, and has good flexibility and air permeability.
Beech is heavy, firm and durable, making it a common choice for large products such as toy kitchen sets.
Meanwhile, rubberwood is easy to process when forming and drilling. The tree is semitropical and often sourced locally from Yunnan, Hainan and some coastal provinces.
As regards hardwood variants, these are more compact and sturdy, but grow at a slower pace. The timber therefore is scarcer and costlier. It is commonly used in high-quality models.
Nonsolid materials such as MDF and plywood are widely employed, particularly for toys with thin or wide segments. The inputs boast greater cost-efficiency than traditional logs.
To illustrate, MDF is made by breaking down leftover pieces of hard and soft timber into fiber. The particles are then blended using a wax and resin binder.
Plywood, meanwhile, consists of thin sheets that are glued together. This option is not as dense as MDF.
Further, a few makers are utilizing bamboo for the selection. The grass is a renewable and less costly alternative to conventional lumber.
Regardless of the wood used, most wooden role-play toys adopt metal screws to secure toy parts. Other models can be trimmed with printed fabric.
Products & prices
Role-play toys contribute between 5 and 10 percent to China’s total wooden toy yield. The majority of output in the line is kitchen and handyman sets. Vet, doctor, tea party, grocery, store and cashier variants are also available.
Kitchen kits are either free-standing or for tabletop use. The first can reach 100cm in height and may include an oven, pans, forks and spoons. Some bigger versions have a refrigerator, sink and cupboard. Most desktop styles consist of a basic stove and cooking utensils.
Handyman or carpenter sets come with a tool box or working platform. Nails, hammers, screwdrivers, saws, wrenches and axes are added as well.
Doctor and veterinarian-themed models are often boxed and include a syringe, stethoscope, thermometer and pills.
Meanwhile, tea party sets consist of saucers, utensils, cups, cakes and fruits. Hook-and-loop tape or magnets can be fixed onto food pieces to allow children to separate and put them back together.
The majority of China’s wooden role-play toys are compliant with the ASTM F963 and EN 71 1/2/3/9 rules. Finished goods are also verified for fire and water resistance.
Pricewise, low-end models are $1 to $10. They come in locally sourced MDF, pine, poplar, beech, oak, birch, or bass-, rubber- or plywood. Basic shapes and prints are employed.
Products quoted from $11 to $30 are midrange, while those exceeding $30 are considered high-end. Both variants utilize materials similar to low-end types. Imported lumber is also used.
Upscale releases boast complex designs and earth-friendly paint. Top-of the-line models even adopt ecologically safe glue.
In coming months, wooden role-play toy prices are forecast to jump 5 to 10 percent amid mounting input costs.
According to interviewed suppliers, lumber outlay in November 2010 rose 5 to 20 percent YoY. During this time, spending for rubberwood climbed 10 to 20 percent. The unit value reached between $45 and $60.
Further, with the higher cost of solid wood, MDF and plywood rates have also gone up about 10 percent.
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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