Mattel launches toy recycling initiative

Consumers can send in their Barbie, Matchbox and MEGA playthings for recycling through the toyco's new PlayBack program.
May 10, 2021

The global toyco is getting greener with Mattel PlayBack, a program designed to recover and reuse materials from old products in the manufacturing of new toys.

Consumers can find free shipping labels online to package and send their old Mattel toys back to the company. They will be collected, separated by material type, processed and recycled. Products that can’t be repurposed into new toys will be down-cycled into other plastic products or converted into energy.

As of right now, the program recycles Barbie, Matchbox and MEGA products, but the toyco plans to expand it to eventually accept any Mattel product. PlayBack is currently available in the US and Canada, and also launched in France, Germany and the UK through third-party recycling partners.

This initiative follows the appointment last year of Pamela Gill-Alabaster as Mattel’s head of sustainability. Gill-Alabaster specializes in minimizing corporate environmental impact, developing sustainability metrics and creating long-term brand-purpose strategies.

In 2019, Mattel announced its intention to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based materials in its products and packaging by 2030. The company has since released several items made from bio-based plastics, including the Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack, and its first fully recyclable UNO deck without cellophane packing materials.

Hasbro launched a similar toy recycling program in 2018, allowing consumers to send in their used Hasbro-branded toys and games to be transformed into materials for play spaces, flower pots and park benches by recycling company TerraCycle. The program accepts face-to-face games, plastic and electronic toys, action figures, dolls and plush from consumers throughout the contiguous US.

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