The organic home: for minimalist living

Perks of the job November 15 2017, 0 Comments

Watsi Twoodie giving

Almost as good as making a product that needs to exist in the world... #endocrinedisruptorfree #nontoxictoys


Twoodie Public Benefit Report (part 6 of 6 for 2017) October 31 2017, 0 Comments

6 - Leadership by example

We don't like people that preach or talk.  We want to be an enterprise that demonstrates how to get stuff done, the right way. Of course we take some short /smart cuts, but never in the areas that would hurt or harm anyone.

In our quest to bring to the world the safest, purest and most creative organic toys we have had to travel quite a treacherous journey.

Examples of times where we have had to make difficult and potentially financially harmful decisions include:

  • Avoiding cheaper factories and production facilities in China and Thailand that were unethical or substandard in their treatment of workers and employee safety.
  • Choosing to test with expensive specialist third party labs for all jurisdictions according to different guidelines, rather than assume that just those of Australia NZ (the strictest) would suffice.
  • Testing all the packaging for toxicity and harmful chemicals in addition to the actual toys.
  • Having forthright and assertive conversations with our Japanese partners in order to obtain proof of the sustainability and source of the wood supply.
  • Delaying our launch and forgoing the opportunity to send samples to press in order to retest our product for safety and wood composition after the factory location was changed at the last minute without our notice or authorization.
  • Returning and paying to have faulty stock repaired as well as redoing all quality assurance in house in order to confidently be able to proclaim Twoodie as the world's safest baby toy.
  • Openly and clearly displaying our business practises (good bad and work in progress) on our Open Books page accessible via twoodie.com.
  • Reporting honestly and without bias and hysteria about the dangers of Endocrine Disruption and the science and data which supports it to date.
  • Refusing to pay bloggers, celebs or influencers that would not publicly disclose their income in exchange for a review, regardless of their claims of neutrality. We believe this to be disingenuous and what's more, we believe in Twoodie!

 


Twoodie Public Benefit Report (part 5 of 6 for 2017) October 30 2017, 0 Comments

5 - Promote Transparency

In order to demonstrate that we make safe, non-toxic BPA and endocrine disruptor free toys we need to provide universal access to documentation that confirms this.

This has been achieved in the following ways:

  • Our website content
  • Our blog or 'diary' - the organic home for minimalist living
  • Open Books - a specific page on the website that details all of our operations including:

Our Cost Model & Margins: here

Salary & Compensation: here

Paid affiliates and Sponsors: here

Independent Safety Test Certificates: here

We also spoke and shared our experience via the Fung Guerilla Sessions, at the world's largest supply chain and sourcing company.

Finally we wrote our first Benefit Report, in real time and online so that it can be updated more frequently. We made this accessible and searchable via the web/our website.

Details within the report detail our progress and many highlights but also note areas for development and signify our intentions to continue to be open.

hands with wooden blocks

 


Sophie the Giraffe October 26 2017, 0 Comments

Reading on the BBC about Sophie the Giraffe having mould inside the plastic toys today.

I didn't know that plastic could grow mould or that people were so enamoured by this toy.

To us the plastic that is being teethed on daily seems a lot more dangerous than mould... they might say they test the products but these toys are tested in batches of 1 million units or more, so hardly a very good safeguard against contamination or defects.

Endocrine Disruptors in plastic toys are only completely avoidable by steering clear of:

1 - All plastic and synthetic materials (especially while teething)

2 - Wooden toys that are not treated with chemical preservatives, paints or other finishes that may be tainted

These guidelines should be simple for parents to follow between years 0 and 2 when children have no real discretion over what toys they can choose to play with, in the same way they are directed as to what they can eat.


Twoodie Public Benefit Report (part 4 of 6 for 2017) October 24 2017, 0 Comments

4 - Share 1%

At Twoodie we have donated 1% of our REVENUE (not profit which would have been substantially lower) to Watsi. We have funded healthcare for 33 patients in 12 countries. This is 33 individuals and families that are helped by our clients and the commerce Twoodie pays forward.

This is made transparent via the Watsi site and our communication with each and every client about the 'donation on your behalf'. We follow this with a status update email detailing the progress and that the money has been spent on what we promised it would be. We use Watsi's correspondence to complete this.

As we grow our business we can continue to improve our impact in this way, beyond just making a product that is non-toxic, non-plastic and free from Endocrine Disruptors. A product that is multipurpose, age agnostic and biodegradable. Made in a way that is ethical and sustainable. A product that we feel confident deserves to exist in the world and is not just another 'thing'.

All of the children we have helped are below 8 years of age. Their conditions include eye surgery, burn repair surgery, brain and spinal surgery and that to treat Spina Bifida; hardly an issue in the developed world as it is relatively simple to prevent with folic acid supplements and healthy diet.

Its our honour and blessing to share what we have, from the beginning, as a marker of our intent (even if this is not materially a very large sum of money).

 


Toxic threats contained in plastics & highlighted by the New York Times October 21 2017, 0 Comments

Endocrine disruptors highlighted by the New York Times:

N-Methylpyrrolidone

Where you may find it: N-Methylpyrrolidone is a solvent used in petrochemical processing. It can be found in plastics, paints, inks, enamels, electronics, industrial and consumer cleaning products and arts and crafts materials.

How it could hurt you: It may pose a particular risk to women who are pregnant or of childbearing age, according to studies on animals that suggest delayed fetal development.

Industry intervention: The NMP Manufacturers Group argues that the chemical “is used in many industry sectors, in varied processes,” and that it would be “unworkable for industry and unworkable for EPA” to evaluate them all.

Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster

Where you may find it: Cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster is a group of chemicals found in flame retardants, plastic additives and certain polystyrene foams used in the construction industry for thermal insulation boards.

How it could hurt you: People may be exposed to the chemicals from products and dust in the home. Animal test results suggest potential reproductive, developmental and neurological effects.

Industry intervention: The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers argues that the E.P.A. should not consider “potential of an accident or misuse, whether intentional or unintentional,” when deciding to restrict these chemicals, as “misuse is not even predictable and should never be included in toxicological risk assessment.”

Read the full article here


The organic home October 20 2017, 0 Comments

At Twoodie we are building a store for the organic home. Essentially this is a one stop shop for products that are able to biodegrade (i.e don’t contain plastic and toxic pollutants).

Initially our focus is on wood and creatively exploiting the intrinsic character of wood.

These products are all naturally endocrine disruptor free, and independently tested as such. We believe the science.

We make the best quality products on the market, with a focus on design, efficacy and sustainability. Products that deserve to exist in the world.

Transparency is how we build trust internally and externally. We tell the truth, however painful and imperfect we are/it is/things can be.

We prize commitment, focus, persistence, practicality and optimism.





Twoodie Public Benefit Report (part 3 of 6 for 2017) October 02 2017, 0 Comments

3 - Preserve the environment

In addition to making non-toxic and safe wooden (biodegradable) toys at Twoodie we have used sustainably sourced wood from Japan and the USA. The woods were chosen to be suitable for the products end use but also sustainable and readily available because of ample supply.  We could have used cheaper woods but we chose to use special ones!

We have not used synthetic materials, except for the cloth bag.  All other components are natural, biodegrade and ALL components are tested for safety and purity.

Currently we have a new supplier able to more accurately detail the wood source. We hope to be 100% transparent about this from our next order of stock.

Twoodies as industrial design product fulfil many functions as they are long lasting and multifunctional as well as being cross generational. Their price point, packaging design and style emphasise that this is a special product and not something consumable or disposable after quick and careless use. They have been created under the Montessori umbrella with consideration of the broader context of their lifecycle and use.

We are moving towards end-to-end supply chain visibility with our new Japanese supplier.  We will be establishing environmental metrics in partnership with them and identifying any constraints they may have.

We ship directly from source to clients.  We work with DHL and postage services and hope to be able to take advantage of their innovations as the business scales. 

Shop with us!


Is BPA safe? October 01 2017, 0 Comments

A summary of what BPA is and why we are concerned about it in toys and children's products

What is BPA?

BPA is an abbreviation for Bisphenol A. It is a man made synthetic compound.

What is BPA used for?

BPA is generally used to make plastics and some resin materials. BPA plastics have a clear appearance and are cheap, strong and durable.  For this reason they are found in many common consumer goods including water bottles, tupperware, toys, sports equipment and kitchenware. BPA has been in commercial use since 1957 and is now, scarily, one of the highest volumes of chemical produced.

Why is BPA dangerous and controversial?

BPA is considered an Endocrine Disruptor.  This means it can cause disruption of the endocrine, i.e. hormone system which regulates our bodies growth and development, reproduction and fertility and many other essential functions. The UN and WHO first published a report in 2002 highlighting this and subsequently have continued to study the effects of EDCs and strengthened their position according to the data and scientific studies independently conducted.

To quote the World Health Organization on the dangers:

There is emerging evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to EDCs, and there is also mounting evidence for effects of these chemicals on thyroid function, brain function, obesity and metabolism, and insulin and glucose homeostasis.

Global rates of endocrine-related cancers (breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, testicular and thyroid) have been increasing over the past 40–50 years.”

Why is BPA especially toxic for children and babies?

The effects of Endocrine Disruptors depend on the amount and the timing of exposure. There is a window deemed ‘sensitive periods for endocrine disruptor action’ by the World Health Organization, when we are most susceptible to the adverse effects of EDCs.  This is during the body’s development i.e when in utero, infancy and during early childhood. EDCs are especially dangerous for pregnant women and growing children because of this. 

In 2008 many retailers voluntarily agreed to remove polycarbonate products from their shelves. BPA has caused ongoing controversy, together with Endocrine Disruptors, with many chemical companies denying their existence.

Is BPA regulated? Is plastic safe?

Or maybe the question should be WHY isn't BPA regulated? It seems that not all plastic is toxic, but without testing we cannot be sure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ended its authorization of the use of BPA in baby bottles and infant formula packaging, based on market abandonment, not safety. The European Union and Canada have banned BPA use in baby bottles.  Whilst this may seem like a solution unfortunately the regulations and testing are insufficient and the Washington Post found 100% (60/60 teething items bought online and tested) positive for BPA, despite being labelled and marketed as being safe and free from this endocrine disruptor.

In February 2016, France officially stated that it intends to classify BPA as substance of very high concern (SVHC).

Where can I learn more about Endocrine disruptors?

HERE

Where can I buy safe, non-toxic and BPA/Endocrine Disruptor free toys?

HERE

 


Twoodie Public Benefit Report (part 2 of 6 for 2017) September 28 2017, 0 Comments

2 - Establish a professional workplace

Twoodie endeavours to do more than create all wood products that are non-toxic and finished with plant based materials made from natural oils and waxes.  We guarantee the supply chain and this includes, to the very best of our ability, our team.

Twoodie has had full time workers (founders), interns (reimbursed), contractors (paid fairly) and freelancers (ditto) amongst other people involved in building the product and company.

Those involved with Twoodie have been given the opportunity to up-skill through mentorship, conferences, coworkers and by gaining relevant business experience. Where necessary they have been provided with references, guidance and on the job skills training.

All have had contracts and clearly defined roles.

All shareholders and stakeholders of Twoodie have been kept up to date in keeping with our legal responsibilities.

All published information and research, such as the Twoodie report on Endocrine Disruptors in Toys, has been professionally and independently carried out by our team in an environment where finding the correct answer, and doing so in a professional manner, has been of the highest priority.