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Mattel turning old Barbies, Matchbox cars and MEGA Bloks into new toys

file photo: new barbie dolls from mattel are pictured in the manhattan borough of new york city
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

By Aleksandra Michalska

Toymaker Mattel is encouraging kids to return Barbies, Matchbox cars and MEGA Bloks they no longer play with to the company for recycling into new toys.

The goal of the company’s new ‘Playback’ program is to recover and reuse materials across all products and packaging by 2030, Mattel said as it announced the program this week.

“Mattel’s Playback program is a great step,” said Jim Silver, CEO of TTPM, a toy industry research firm. “The consumer is becoming more and more concerned about the future and becoming more eco-friendly; manufacturers are starting to step up and start to try and make the environment better.”

The company is encouraging consumers to ship their old toys back to Mattel, where they are sorted and separated by material type, processed, and recycled. Materials that cannot be recycled will be either “downcycled” or “converted to energy.”

Last month, Mattel unveiled the Matchbox Tesla Roadster, its first vehicle made from 99% recycled materials and carbon.

Mattel is aiming to make all Matchbox die-cast cars, playsets and packaging with 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials by 2030.

“More and more manufacturers are going to be going down this road,” Silver said. “I think Mattel, being one of the large companies in the industry, to start this recycling program, I think you can see others follow suit.”

To participate in the program, consumers can visit Mattel.com/PlayBack, print a free shipping label, and pack and mail their outgrown Mattel toys back to Mattel.

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