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The Art of Thoughtful Manufacturing

The Art of Thoughtful Manufacturing

When I started Milton & Goose, I knew immediately that if I were going to introduce a new product, I had to do so thoughtfully. The last thing the world needs is more stuff, and particularly junky toys, crowding our landfills and ruining this precious planet that we hope to pass on to the very children these toys are created for. So, I started researching what it would take create a toy that was thoughtfully produced, taking into account everyone's needs: our precious children, our beautiful earth, and the many parents who have to stare at this thing all day long! It was a challenge, but ultimately, Milton & Goose created a product that considered VOCs, formaldehyde, sustainable materials, and carbon footprints, to bring you a safe, beautiful toy for your little one. 

Let's start with VOC and HAPs levels. "VOCs" are volatile organic compounds that are emitted as gases from certain paints and products. VOCs can be harmful to nature and people alike. Many children's products made overseas cannot guarantee low VOC levels on their finishes, but we had already decided that manufacturing in the USA was a priority, so that allowed us tighter control and easier access to high quality products. We sourced paints and finishes that were both low in VOC levels and completely free of any HAPs. "HAPs" are hazardous air pollutants known to be harmful to humans and when it comes to the air our littlest ones breath, we can't be too careful.

When it came to selecting our woods, we put a lot of thought into which species and varieties we wanted to work with. The wood had to be sustainable, sturdy, and attractive. We settled on maple and Baltic birch plywood. Maple is both known for its durability and plentiful in North America, where we manufacture, making it an excellent choice from both an environmental standpoint and as a perfect match for our product. And as the name suggests, our Baltic birch comes from the Baltic region, where birch is abundant and their unique plywood manufacturing process creates a stronger material, making it ideal for furniture-making.  

While on the topic of plywood, it's important to discuss a popular topic around manufactured wood: formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a VOC and naturally occurring. Formaldehyde is present in all wood-based products, but particularly when it comes to manufactured wood, it's important to consider formaldehyde levels. We intentionally do not use MDF (medium density fiberboard), though it's a popular material in children's furniture, because it is known for its higher levels of formaldehyde. We use only CARB Phase 2 Compliant plywood, which means it passes one of the most stringent emissions standards for formaldehyde, making it safe for in-home use. 

Reducing our carbon footprint is another important factor that we consider as we produce our toys. Our play kitchens are produced in an Amish-owned and operated facility in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In true Amish tradition, our facility is mostly off-grid and takes every opportunity to minimize waste. You won't find a machine running unnecessarily or a light switch left on, because power is never taken for granted. We plan our materials carefully and leftover wood or excess cuts are recycled into other projects. We also source what can locally to reduce environmental impact and we ship all our kitchens through UPS's Carbon Neutral Shipping program. 

If you have any questions about specific materials or processes we use, we're always happy to provide whatever information we can! Just shoot us an email at for assistance. 


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