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Toy Designers and Toy Brands empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. But, future generations also need to inherit an environment that is full of promise. Most of the time, children outgrow toys or discard them due to wear and tear, and then these toys end up in landfills. By working together to reclaim and recycle materials, we can make sure the toys of the present do not become the waste challenges of tomorrow.

With the launch of Mattel PlayBack, Mattel has taken a step towards making play more Sustainable and Responsible, inspired by the logics of Circular Economy. Mattel PlayBack is a toy take-back program that will enable families to extend the value of their Mattel toys once they are finished playing with them. The new program is designed to reclaim and recycle materials from old Mattel toys for future Mattel products. Once collected, toys are separated by polymer type and cleaned (if necessary). The material is then extruded into plastic pellets to make new recycled products, when possible. For materials that cannot be repurposed as recycled content in new toys, Mattel PlayBack will either down-cycle those materials or convert them from waste to energy. 

“Play should not have a shelf life or be tossed away,” the company writes. “We design toys to be loved, cherished, and passed on from one generation to the next, and we aim to make them from materials that can live on in new toys and in new ways.”

The program, initially, will accept Barbie®, Matchbox®, and MEGA® toys for recycling with other brands to be added in the future. It will be available in the United States and Canada and will, later on, extend to France, Germany, and the United Kingdom through third-party recycling partners.

Waste is a major problem for our communities and our planet, whether we’re talking about overflowing landfills or polluted oceans. Protecting the planet might sound like a job for grown-ups, but kids can help too. This initiative by Mattel will help in advancing the Circular Economy in the Toy Industry and teach the kids the importance of protecting the planet. This toy back program is a big financial undertaking on Mattel’s part to their path toward sustainability — a pledge the company has made.

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