Mattel Gives Old Barbies A Second Life As New Toys With Recycling Program

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Image via Mattel

What do you do with the truckloads of toys left behind by your children each year?

Kids grow out of toys quickly, and Mattel has now devised a way to keep past year’s Barbies, Matchbox cars, and Mega construction blocks out of landfills.

The toymaker is introducing its pilot program, Mattel PlayBack, which will give used toys a “second life” by recycling their plastic parts into new toys. Its recycling initiative is similar to that of LEGO’s Replay program, which gives parents free shipping labels to return old toys to the company.

For now, Mattel is only accepting Barbie, Matchbox, and Mega brand toys for its recycling efforts. Back at the factory, the company will sort the toys and process plastic parts to be recycled for use in new products.

“For materials that cannot be repurposed as recycled content in new toys, Mattel PlayBack will either downcycle those materials into other plastic products or convert them from waste to energy,” the company explained.

This pilot program will first be rolled out in the United States and Canada. A similar effort, operated by a third-party vendor, will be available in France, Germany, and the UK, as well.

“The Mattel PlayBack program helps parents and caregivers ensure that valuable materials stay in play, and out of landfills,” Pamela Gill-Alabaster, Head of Global Sustainability at Mattel, told Forbes.

“It is one important step we’re taking to address the growing global waste challenge.”

Alongside this program, Mattel is also working towards 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastics by 2030.

The company has recently released products made from bio-based plastics, including toys under the Fisher-Price brand, and a number of Mega Bloks sets.

[via Forbes, cover image via Mattel]

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