Toy manufacturers are trying to wean themselves off single-use plastics in response to growing numbers of parents concerned about the environmental impact of plastic toys.
A recent survey commissioned by industry group The Toy Association found that 78% of parents said a toy’s durability was important to them.
Mattel launched a year ago Mattel Playback, a program that lets parents print free shipping labels and use them to send old Barbie dolls, Mega Bloks, and Matchbox cars and games to Mattel collection sites. for recycling and reuse.
Mattel has now expanded this program to include non-electronic Fisher-Price toys. The Fisher-Price division of Mattel includes Little People, Laugh & Learn, Imaginext and other brands.
In late 2019, Mattel set a goal to use 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastics in all of its toys and packaging by 2030. In April, it announced a new green goal of reducing plastic packaging by 25% per product by 2030. 2030.
Mattel has also stepped up its sustainability efforts with the release of certified carbon neutral toys this year, including Mega Bloks Green Town building sets, which Mattel says are the number one line of toys sold in mass retail. to be certified carbon neutral.
It also announced its first carbon-neutral Matchbox vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, made from 99% recycled materials.
The three biggest toy companies – Lego, Hasbro
In October 2019, Lego launched a program that allows parents to donate old Lego bricks to school programs and worked to develop plant-based and biodegradable alternative materials.
Hasbro launched a program in 2018 where its plastic toys can be sent to recycling innovator Terracycle to be reused in other products. In 2019, Hasbro pledged to stop using plastic packaging by the end of that year.
“Sustainability and the environment are becoming increasingly important to parents,” said Jim Silver, toy industry expert and owner of toy review site TTPM.com and TTPM Influencer Talent Management.
All major toy companies, Silver said, emphasize their green initiatives. “It helps for their image that they show they are concerned about the future and the future of the children,” he said.
“It’s a trend that’s going to continue to grow year after year,” Silver said.
Mattel’s year-old Playback program has helped Mattel learn more about “the sustainability and disassembly of our products, which will help in the future design of products designed for the circular economy,” Pamela Gil- Alabaster, global head of sustainability and social impact for Mattel, said in announcing the expansion of the Playback program.
Mattel hasn’t released data on how many parents have used the Playback program so far to recycle Barbies, Matchbox cars or Mega Bloks, but Gil-Alabaster said the program “has been met with enthusiasm by consumers”.