Sustainability as a societal goal seems achievable, but it entails more than just knowledge of the principles. It is not enough that people, companies, organizations, and brands learn about the basics because what is more important is that those principles are put into practice. A truly sustainable environment may still be far from reach but little by little, we can start making a difference. Mattel, one of the top toymakers in the world, has launched a special program that aims to reduce waste by allowing consumers to send back toys to the company after kids are done playing with them. The idea is simple: families only need to send their Mattel toys back to the manufacturer.
Mattel has been aiming to make its products 100% recycled or recyclable as a significant goal. Another major target is to use bio-based plastic materials in packaging and products by 2030. Mattel has already allowed some of its major sub-brands to be part of the program and accept old but usable toys. MEGA, Matchbox, and Barbie are already doing their role in the toy takeback initiative.
Returning the toys for recycling isn’t just the objective as there’s also the plan to help extend the life of these toys. Mattel wants to recover and reuse the materials taken from old Matter toys for future and new products. This way, the waste materials are great reduced and kept from filling landfills.
Mattel’s SVP Global Head of Sustainability and Social Impact Pamela Gill-Alabaster shared: “The Mattel PlayBack program has been eagerly received by consumers and has provided tremendous learning specific to the durability and disassembly of our products, which will aid in the future design of products made for the circular economy.” She also explained the company has started to discover new technologies in recycling and processing plastic. The future of toy production may include using old materials collected through the PlayBack program, thus helping the planet manage waste and hopefully seeing a circular economy in the toy business.
The Mattel PlayBack program is now open in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada. It’s been a year since its launch, and more people can participate as Fisher-Price toys are now accepted. Specifically, those non-electronic Fisher-Price toys are included and those under the Imaginext, Little People, and Laugh & Learn product series.
This move means Fisher-Price joins the Barbie, Mega, and Matchbox brands in this ‘green’ effort. The Mattel PlayBack program’s main goal is to repurpose the materials into new forms. Old toys will be transformed into new ones, so there will be no sad Toy Story moments to witness.
If you have a bunch of Fisher-Price toys from Mattel and kids have already stopped playing with them, feel free to join the Mattel PlayBack program. You will receive a free shipping label to print, which you can put on the box you will be sending back to Mattel. The toy manufacturer will then check the condition of the toys, sort them, and separate them by type of material. Not all materials may be used or repurposed, but the company will still use them to convert to energy or downcycle to other plastic products. Mattel is committed to responsibly recycling and processing them, which will greatly help Mother Earth.
Mattel has already established ESG strategies (Environmental, Social, and Governance), and this PlayBack program is just one effort. It will only continue to work on its principles in circular design and product stewardship, and maybe further expand the PlayBack program. A really sustainable future is a great goal not only for Mattel but also for other big manufacturers that primarily produce plastic goods, so we’re hoping more companies will follow suit.