“Eco-friendly” and “made in the USA” are two phrases that capture consumers’ attention in today’s retail market. Both of those qualities apply to Sprig Toys, a company founded a decade ago in Fort Collins, CO, by David Bowen and Chris Clemmer. The pair sold the company in 2010 to Wham-O.
After the sale of Sprig Toys, the pair started another toy company they call BeginAgain to fulfill their goal of making toys from eco-friendly, bioplastic materials. The BeginAgain toys are made from rubberwood, a blend derived from the sap of the rubber tree, and recycled polypropylene from yogurt cups and food containers.
Recently, Bowen and Clemmer bought back Sprig Toys from Wham-O and have returned production to the United States. “One of our goals is to manufacture toys as close to our drawing board as possible,” Clemmer told PlasticsToday. “It made sense for us to produce close to our headquarters.”
Pikes Peak Plastics, a custom injection molder in Colorado Springs that specializes in molding sustainable products and helping brand owners bring back production from China and other overseas locations, molds the toys. Pikes Peak Plastic has a licensing agreement with BeginAgain toys to manufacture John Deere toy trucks.
Sprig Toys are injection molded from a variety of different starches including corn and wheat starch. Clemmer said the current truck line is made from polyethylene (PE) derived from sugar cane. Corn cobs, an agricultural waste byproduct, are ground up and blended into the PE to impart structural integrity to the bioplastic toys, as well as give them a “unique look.” The yellow dump trucks also “smell like corn,” Clemmer added.
On Nov. 15, Clemmer and Bower launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise $35,000 to fund the production of Sprig Toys in the USA. At last check, 50 people have signed up to support the effort.
“We’re an eco-friendly brand, so when it comes to the world of toys it was a natural fit for us to bring back Sprig,” said Clemmer. “It allows us to continue that mission and tell the story of our bioplastic toys to a global audience.”