“Mattel PlayBack”: Send Back Your Old Barbie and Matchbox to Mattel for Recycling

Mattel, the 76-year-old toy company, has launched its pilot program called “Mattel PlayBack.” The campaign is designed to recover and reuse materials in old Mattel toys for the company’s future products. They are basically encouraging you to send back your old toys once you are done playing with them.

The toy company announced that they are launching the program with three well-loved brands — Barbie, Matchbox, and MEGA toys — and will be adding other brands in the future.

The environmentally sustainable effort by Mattel was met with a positive reaction, especially by the 90s kids who have boxes and crates full of Barbies stored in their parent’s basements. This program is one of the company’s steps toward a sustainability-focused future. By 2030, Mattel has committed to using 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials on all of its packaging and products.

Visit Mattel’s website and participate in the program. Print the free shipping label, pack your toys and mail them back to the company. According to Mattel, the toys they will receive from the consumers will be sorted and separated by material type and processed and recycled. If the materials cannot be repurposed as recycled content for new toys, they will either be converted from waste to energy or downcycled into other plastic products.

“We get to keep these valuable materials out of a landfill and have the opportunity to learn from the circular model,” Pamela Gill-Alabaster, Mattel’s global head of sustainability, told CNN Business.

Initially, this recycling initiative will be available in the United States and Canada, but the company is extending similar PlayBack efforts in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom with a third-party partner. Mattel also experimented with a similar campaign in Canada in 2020, with MEGA toys in partnership with a recycling company based in New Jersey, the TerraCycle.

Exploring other alternatives to plastic is crucial to tackling climate change. It is essential for companies to adopt “eco-friendly” marketing as consumers are increasingly aware of how their choices and actions affect the environment. Plastic waste has had devastating effects on the planet, from greenhouse gas emissions to clogging waterways and plastic accumulation in bodies of water.