Finalist 2020

The Reef Express Bath Toy Set

Happy Planet Toys / Outerspace Design

Inspiring children to connect with the ocean and protect their environment

The Reef Express is the first product to be launched by Happy Planet Toys – an innovative Australian start up, and the first Australian business to bring toys into the circular economy with their exciting and engaging, as well as safe and durable, toys made from recycled Australian milk bottles.

Inspired by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the toys include colourful characters for story-telling and educational purposes, inspiring children to connect with the ocean and protect their environment. The toys show children and their families the importance of reducing plastic waste, and that their recycling can become something fun.

Design Excellence

The design is targeted to toddlers with the functionality allowing for open-ended and creative play. Removing the lid and fixing the characters into their places develops fine motor and problem solving skills, and allows children to \’post\’ toys in and out – a common activity for toddlers. The characterisation also allows children able to form an emotional connection. The toys are sustainable, being made from milk bottles, which also means the plastic is toxin free. They’re certified under the Australian Safety standards for toys. All this contributes to a high-quality user experience and demonstrates the professional design process undertaken.

Design Impact

Our toys are having a significant environmental impact. Each set of toys uses 8 recycled milk bottles, and in our first year we have saved more than 20,000 milk bottles from ending up in landfill. We’re demonstrating the value of recycling and reducing plastic waste, and allowing children to make a direct and positive connection between their recycling and toys.

Our toys are 100% closed loop and fulfilling the objectives of the circular economy. They’re created from plastic waste, and because they have been designed without bolts or screws like most toys, they can be recycled via kerbside recycling.

Design Transformation

As the first toys created from recycled Australian milk bottles, we have set a new benchmark for sustainably designed and produced toys. With the difficulty of working with the recycled milk bottles, it would not have been possible to achieve the outcomes we have without the professional design capabilities of Outerspace Design.

As the first business of its kind in Australia, we absolutely contribute to Victoria’s reputation as a hub for design, creativity and innovation. There are only a handful of companies globally doing anything similar, which positions Victoria at the forefront of innovative, sustainable design on an international scale.

Design Innovation

The toys are helping solve Australia’s plastic waste problem, being made from 100% recycled milk bottles sourced from Australian kerbsides. They’re demonstrating that toys can be sustainable, and that expertly designed toys can also be recycled.

We are unique as our toys are designed to allow for maximum functionality and engagement, By comparison, products from overseas competitors are significantly less detailed with less functionality, due to the degree of difficulty in working with recycled material.

Other Key Features

The toys also address concerns about mould build-up in bath toys. The toys are carefully designed with larger drainage holes so the toys air and dry easily. The plastic is also dishwasher safe, so the toys can be cleaned in detail.

Packaging the toys to meet sustainability objectives has also been a key priority. The toys are packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard packaging, with no plastic covers or ties.

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