Mattel launches recycling program to give old toys new life

National News

You can now send old Barbies and Matchbox cars back to Mattel and they'll turn them into new toys

You no longer need to worry about some of your old toys ending up in landfills — now, there’s a way to recycle them. Mattel has launched a recycling program to extend the life of its worn and cast-off toys beyond just one family.  

Mattel announced Monday a “toy take-back program” designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys to make new ones. The company has a goal of using 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials in all of its products and packaging by 2030. 

“Don’t let their lessons be lost — give them back,” the company says in its video announcement. 

“Mattel toys are made to last and be passed on from generation to generation,” Richard Dickson, Mattel president and COO, said in a statement. “A key part of our product design process is a relentless focus on innovation, and finding sustainable solutions is one significant way we are innovating.” 

To participate, consumers can print a free shipping label from the Mattel website, then pack and mail their old toys back to the company. Those toys will then be sorted by material type so they can be recycled. 

Mattel Playback – The Toy Takeback Program
 by Mattel
 on YouTube

Mattel said that any materials that cannot be repurposed will either be downcycled, another form of recycling for contaminated materials, or converted from waste to energy. 

The program is currently accepting Barbie, Matchbox and MEGA toys. It plans to add other brands to the lineup in the future. 

“The Mattel PlayBack program helps parents and caregivers ensure that materials stay in play, and out of landfills, with the aim to repurpose these materials as recycled content in new toys,” said Pamela Gill-Alabaster, the company’s global head of sustainability. “It is one important step we’re taking to address the growing global waste challenge.”

The program is part of a wide effort to push the toy industry towards sustainability to keep up with the demands of millennial and Gen Z parents. Lego and Hasbro have also launched similar initiatives. 

Toy publication Kidscreen reported earlier this year that the next big trend for environmentally-conscious parents could be toy rental programs. 

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