BEACH TOYS FAQ
What are Zoë b Beach Toys made of?
Our toys are made with a biobased material that comes from American-grown corn. Specifically, this bioplastic from Mirel™ is made with PHA, a polymer produced by microbial fermentation of sugar.
Do the toys contain Bisphenol A (BPA)?
No. They’re made with bioplastic derived from corn sugar and contain absolutely no BPA, phthalates, or PVC. In fact, our bioplastic is even FDA-approved for food contact (not that we recommend your child eating sand out of the bucket).
Why is your bioplastic better than ordinary plastic?
Our bioplastic comes from corn grown here in the USA, a renewable resource. Ordinary plastic comes from oil and natural gas, fossil fuels that are not renewable. Our bioplastic fully biodegrades in 2 to 3 years when buried in soil, immersed in water, home composted, or composted in industrial facilities. Ordinary plastic takes up to 500 years to degrade, and even then it only breaks down into tiny particles that are toxic to wildlife and the environment. Our bioplastic is BPA-free. Most ordinary plastic isn’t. And yet our bioplastic looks, feels, and holds up just like ordinary plastic.
Will the toys last?
Zoë b toys are durable and designed to hold up to playing just like ordinary beach toys. And don’t worry about exposure to the hot, summer sun. The material we use is “performance bioplastic” that can withstand endless sunlight and extreme heat—it’s even dishwasher-safe. It only biodegrades when exposed to microbial activity, such as in soil, home compost, industrial compost, or marine environments.
How long will it take the toys to fully biodegrade?
Within 2 to 3 years, depending on conditions. Our bioplastic is fully biodegradable in microbial environments, including natural soil and water, home composting systems, and industrial composting facilities— where these facilities are available. So if even if the toys get left on the beach and washed out to sea, they’ll fully return to nature in a few years. However, like nearly all other bioplastics and organic matter, Mirel is not designed to biodegrade in landfills.
So how long does it take ordinary plastic to go away?
The average plastic water bottle takes 300 to 500 years to break down. And even then, ordinary, petroleum-based plastic only photodegrades—which means it breaks down under the sun’s ultraviolet rays into smaller and smaller particles—but never actually disappears. And that alone poses a problem for our planet. Scientists estimate that every year at least 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die when they entangle themselves in plastic pollution or ingest it.
Will the toys biodegrade in my compost?
Yes, unlike most other bioplastics, the material we use to make our toys doesn’t require the high temperatures of an industrial-composting facility to biodegrade—which is a good thing, since many communities don’t even have these facilities. So when you’re done with the toys, please just put them in your compost or bury them in your backyard—or better still, give them to someone else who can use them.
Will anything harmful go into the earth? No. The Mirel™ resin we use is industry-certified to meet biodegradation and composting standards. For more information, go to: Mirel Bioplastic.
My iced coffee comes in a biodegradable plastic cup. Is this material any different?
Yes. Our bioplastic biodegrades in natural soil and water environments, home composting sytems, and industrial composting facilities. Most other biodegradable plastics will only biodegrade when exposed to the high heat of an industrial-composting facility—which may not even be available in your area.
Do you use GMO corn to make the bioplastic?
Unfortunately GMO corn is all that’s currently available to create our biodegradable resin. (In fact, 86% of all corn in the U.S. is GMO corn.) But as technology evolves, we’re always looking for better alternatives. So stay tuned.
Can I recycle the toys with my recyclables?
No, biodegradable plastics cannot be recycled. As mentioned above, the proper way to dispose of them is ordinary composting. We’re all for recycling, but right now 15 billion pounds of conventional plastic are being produced in the U.S. every year, and unfortunately only one billion pounds are actually being recycled. That’s a frightening amount of plastic sitting around for hundreds of years.
What about other environmental costs, like transportation?
We try to reduce our footprint wherever possible. That’s why our toys are manufactured right here in the USA. Pennsylvania, to be exact. (And yes, China would be a lot cheaper.)
Do the toys simply break down into tiny bits like other plastic—making them just another example of “greenwashing”?
No, the toys full biodegrade in microbial environments (soil, water, home composting, industrial composting). As noted above, ordinary, petroleum-based plastic does, in fact, break down into tiny, toxic particles that are dangerous to our wildlife and our environment. Sure, biodegradable beach toys won’t save the world, but we think it’s a small step in the right direction. And what better place to start than on our beaches?