Mattel PlayBack initiative will recover and reuse old toys

Published on: 11th May 2021

The new PlayBack programme aims to turn materials from old Mattel toys into recycled materials for new products.

Mattel has announced the launch of Mattel PlayBack, a toy takeback programme that will enable families to extend the life of their Mattel toys once they have finished playing with them. The scheme is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys for future Mattel products, and supports the company’s goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials across all products and packaging by 2030.

The programme is now available in the US and Canada, as well as France, Germany and the United Kingdom through third-party recycling partners.

“Mattel toys are made to last and be passed on from generation to generation,” said Richard Dickson, president and chief operating officer, Mattel. “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. Our Mattel PlayBack programme is a great example of this, enabling us to turn materials from toys that have lived their useful life into recycled materials for new products.”

To participate in the Mattel PlayBack programme, consumers visit, print a free shipping label, and pack and mail their outgrown Mattel toys back to Mattel. The toys collected will be sorted and separated by material type and responsibly processed and recycled. Materials that cannot be repurposed as recycled content in new toys will either be downcycled or converted from waste to energy. At launch, the programme will accept Barbie, Matchbox and Mega toys for recycling, and other brands are set to be added in the future.

“We are committed to managing the environmental impact of our products,” added Pamela Gill-Alabaster, global head of Sustainability at Mattel. “The Mattel PlayBack programme 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. It is one important step we’re taking to address the growing global waste challenge.”

The initiative follows other recent developments in Mattel’s sustainability focus, which include the creation of two Fisher-Price lines and three Mega Bloks sets made from bio-based plastics, and the first fully recyclable Uno deck without cellophane packing materials. Last month, Mattel also announced the Drive Toward a Better Future roadmap for Matchbox die-cast cars, playsets and packaging, and unveiled the forthcoming Matchbox Tesla Roadster; the first die-cast vehicle made from 99% recycled materials and certified CarbonNeutral.

Mattel PlayBack supports the company’s ongoing commitment to advance a circular economy, which includes pre-competitive collaborations with other members of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and circular design training, led by global design firm IDEO, for its design, development, global brand and supply chain teams.

More information on Mattel’s sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts is available here.


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