Play. Recycle. Repeat.
1 July 2021

Sustainability is a corporate priority at Mattel, a leader in the toy manufacturing sector. Creating sustainable products and packaging is an important part of its commitment to the planet. The company is actively minimising the use of natural resources in its products, packaging and business operations. It is also working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimise waste, conserve water resources and more. The sustainability journey is not easy as all toys must remain safe and compliant with all applicable regulations.

Part of these actions is the Mattel PlayBack, a toy takeback programme that enables families to extend the life of their Mattel toys once they are finished playing with them. The programme is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys for future Mattel products, including toys, 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 available in the US, Canada, the UK and Germany.

To participate in the Mattel PlayBack programme, consumers can 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. For materials that cannot be repurposed as recycled content in new toys, Mattel PlayBack will either downcycle those materials or convert them from waste to energy. The programme is accepting Barbie®, Fisher Price®, Matchbox® and MEGA® toys for recycling, with other brands to be added in the future.

Although Mattel toys are designed to be durable, kept or passed down, the company has been working to also reduce material, which should be as sustainable as possible. Mattel has been introducing several Fisher Price® and MEGA® toys made from bio-based plastics, and UNO® decks do not have cellophane packing materials anymore.

In this context, in 2021, Barbie® launched its first dolls made from recycled ocean bound plastic, and Mattel’s Matchbox announced an ambitious sustainability roadmap called Drive Toward a Better Future. It aims at making all Matchbox die-cast cars, playsets and packaging with 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials by 2030. As part of this programme, Mattel unveiled the Matchbox Tesla Roadster, its first die-cast vehicle made from 99% recycled materials and certified CarbonNeutral®. Mattel is also proactively looking for ways to reduce packaging materials in toys. For example, by streamlining package design, Mattel was able to remove plastic tie-downs from over 15 million Barbie® products between 2018 and 2019. Mattel has also changed the standard design for master cartons from double wall to single wall corrugates for the majority of packaging.

By including environmental sustainability in the play pattern itself, Mattel multiplies its efforts by teaching children about the importance of protecting the planet.

Read more:

Circular economy
The Green Way
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Key numbers
Recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials by 2030