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Green Toys makes kiddie stuff from bioplastic

Pitching its gear to environmentally minded parents, a company makes classic children's toys from corn-based plastic.

First came the biodegradable fork, then the compostable coffee cup, and now "earth friendly" toys.

Green Toys said Friday that it will introduce a line of bioplastic toys in the fall. The first toys are classics aimed at babies and toddlers: a tea set, cookware, an indoor gardening kit, and the old shovel and pail.

Green on the inside: classic toys for children. Green Toys

What sets these colorful plastics apart are what they're made of. Instead of using petroleum-basic plastics, Green Toys is using plastics made from corn starch and other vegetables.

Bioplastics company Cereplast is supplying the plastics to Green Toys. It will also provide NatureWorks plastic, which is made from poly lactic acid (PLA), another corn-based product.

Green Toys, which is exhibiting its gear at San Francisco International Gift Fair this week, is pitching its classic line of toys on their "greeness." Even the colorants used in the toys are biodegradable, supplied by PolyOne.

Bioplastics are becoming trendy. In addition to Cereplast, other companies are investing in similar technologies, including Metabolix. Brazilian chemical company Braskem has committed to making a version of polyethylene from sugar cane by late 2009.

Advocates say that bioplastics are better for the environment because they're made from renewable resources, like corn, rather than oil. And products can decompose within months, compared to decades like traditional plastics.