New green teddy bear design takes top student design honors

on Monday,December 28,2009 22:12


From a consumer''s standpoint, children''s toys tend to have a short shelf-life - particularly stuffed animals like teddy bears. With the normal wear-and-tear these toys go through, combined with fabric''s ability to retain germs and bacteria, teddy bears tend to end up either in storage or in landfills.

To ease the waste that may come from this relatively short product lifecycle, a team of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students created the Sustain-a-Bear, the world''s greenest teddy stuffed animal.

The toy employs sustainability tactics at every stage of its production, from its recycled PET plastic fleece exterior to its ultrasonically welded frame, the toy is fully recyclable. Beginning life as a class project, the Sustain-a-Bear recently took home top honors at the 2009 Manufacturing Student Design Competition held by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

"We tried to pick an idea that would have a big impact," designer and mechanical engineering doctoral student Christina Laskowski tells the school''s newspaper. "The teddy bear market is huge, and despite all the billions of dollars of sales every year, no one has really looked into manufacturing stuffed animals in a sustainable way. That''s where the idea for Sustain-a-Bear was born."

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