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30 Aug 2009

Organic toys

Natalie Southgate launched The Organic Toy Company over a year ago because she wanted her children, suffering with allergies and eczema, to be able to snuggle down with a toy that didn’t irritate them at bedtime.

“I want to raise awareness that there are alternatives to conventional soft toys,” explains Natalie. “For me, it’s equally important to highlight both the human and environmental cost of conventional cotton farming’s pesticide-laden practices. We have no doubt that many more people would choose an organic toy if they knew the facts about the huge quantities of toxins that are used in conventional cotton farming and how this affects not just their children, but has potentially deadly consequences for the communities and wildlife living in the regions where cotton is grown.”

Natalie aims to give her customers complete transparency about each of the toys she sells – “ I explain what they’re made from, the originating country of the organic cotton and wool, which organic or other certifications they have, what the stuffing is made from (even if it is a synthetic material), whether they’ve undergone any harsh dyeing or finishing processes and where the toys were made. There are entirely honest descriptions about the composition of all the toys so people can see exactly what they’re buying, so if the toys do have a polyester filling, I make that very clear.” Natalie has worked with The Soil Association’s textile expert to make sure that all the information about organics and environmental facts are correct.

“I’d like to draw to people’s attention to the fact that there is a significant human and environmental cost to buying conventional cotton,” continues Natalie. “20,000 conventional cotton farmers and workers a year die from pesticide poisoning. That is in addition to the inflated rates of various cancers among people in regions of conventional cotton farming. The areas around the Aral Sea being a particularly indicator, with rates of throat cancer there higher than anywhere else in the world. With 3.5 million people in that region affected (1.5 million of them children), I’m sure people would want to know how conventional cotton farming is affecting other people and their children.”

For playthings that don’t cause harm to other families around the world take a look at The Organic Toy Company’s online shop. New at this organic toy emporium this month are the Knottiez organic cotton comforters, which come in a range of colours, as seen above and featured in our August edition. Cleverly made from a flat piece of fabric with knots which are perfect for teething and playing with and available for £13.99 from

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