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Waste Not
Mattel PlayBack to Give Old Toys New Life

With new takeback program, families can now send old toys back to Mattel, which will recover and reuse materials for use in future Mattel products.

Mattel has launched Mattel PlayBack, a toy takeback program that will enable families to extend the life of their Mattel toys once they are finished playing with them.

Joining other toy companies that have embraced a circular model — including Hasbro and LEGO, which also offer used-toy takeback for recycling — the new program is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys for future Mattel products; and supports the company’s goal to achieve 100 percent recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials across all products and packaging by 2030.

“Mattel toys are made to last and be passed on from generation to generation,” said Richard Dickson, President and Chief Operating Officer at Mattel. “A key part of our product design process is a relentless focus on innovation, and finding sustainable solutions is one significant way we are innovating. Our Mattel PlayBack program is a great example of this, enabling us to turn materials from toys that have lived their useful life into recycled materials for new products.”   

Customers interested in returning old Mattel toys can visit, print a free shipping label, and pack and mail their outgrown toys back to Mattel. The toys collected will be sorted and separated by material type, then processed for recycling. For materials that cannot be repurposed as recycled content in new toys, Mattel says it will either downcycle those materials or convert them from waste to energy. At launch, the program will accept Barbie®, Matchbox® and MEGA® toys for recycling, with other brands to be added in the future. 

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“At Mattel, we are committed to managing the environmental impact of our products,” added Global Head of Sustainability Pamela Gill-Alabaster. “The Mattel PlayBack program helps parents and caregivers ensure that materials stay in play and out of landfills, with the aim to repurpose these materials as recycled content in new toys. It is one important step we’re taking to address the growing global waste challenge.”  

Last year, Mattel introduced the Fisher-Price® Rock-a-Stack® and Baby’s First Blocks, and three MEGA Bloks® sets — all made from bio-based plastics; and UNO® Nothin’ But Paper — the first fully recyclable UNO® deck without cellophane packing materials.  

And last month, Mattel also announced Drive Toward a Better Future — its product roadmap to make all Matchbox die-cast cars, playsets and packaging with 100 percent recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials by 2030, in line with Mattel’s overarching goal; and unveiled the Matchbox Tesla Roadster, its first die-cast vehicle made from 99 percent recycled materials and certified CarbonNeutral® , available starting in 2022.

Mattel PlayBack will initially be available in the US and Canada. The program will extend to France, Germany and the UK through third-party recycling partners.

Programs such as Mattel PlayBack are an integral part of Mattel’s broader sustainability strategy, its commitment to advance a circular economy, and its efforts to teach children about the importance of protecting the planet.

For more information on recycling Mattel toys, visit