Prior to co-founding Green Toys Inc., Robert was the founder of Propellerhead Studios, a leading Silicon Valley design studio specializing in electronic toys and games, where he worked with many major toy companies, including Mattel, Radica and Wild Planet. Before Propellerhead Studios, Robert was the founder and managing director of Starter Fluid, a seed-stage venture capital fund. Robert has an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in Mathematics from the State University of New York and holds two U.S. Patents in the field of toys and games.
How did you first get involved in the green industry?
As a toy designer in the 2000s, I became increasingly aware of 1) the disposable design of many toys, and 2) the economic impact of remote manufacturing, especially when it comes to transportation of product from factory to end market. It was through a knowledge of standard toy business practices that I realized there was a more earth-friendly way to make toys.
What interests you most about being green?
While it’s great to see tangible effects of your efforts (Green Toys just recycled its 20 millionth milk jug!!), the most interesting aspect to me is the sense of pride that our employees and customers feel. It’s delightful that our employees and customers feel an immense involvement in the company and our contribution.
What is your biggest “green” pet peeve?
I have a strong negative reaction to selfishness. To claim accolades without actual achievement baffles the mind. And, while many companies are making tangible baby steps towards eco-friendliness, it’s astonishing the number of products that say “green” due to low-effort measures (“no twist ties!”). We’re not going to solve economic problems with modest efforts, so my biggest pet peeve is eco-products that are all hat and no cattle.
What green trend is most exciting to you or your industry?
My favorite green trend is the increasing disappearance of green trends. Consumer products, and society in general, is moving from “green” being a trend to it being an established part of the mainstream. It reminds of the 1990s, when companies were “Internet companies.” Nowadays, all companies incorporate the Internet because it’s an established practice. Someday, no one will have to market products as “green,” it will just be the way things are done. In an ironic way, it would be wonderful if we innovate ourselves out of business!!
October 29, 2014
Green Toys Inc. makes sought-after toys using recycled milk jugs.