Tesco and Hasbro have joined forces with the leading not-for-profit environmental education company, Wastebuster, to trial a new in-store campaign – turning broken plastic toys into books and reading resources for UK schools.
In a major development for the Recycle to Read campaign, and a major coup for Products of Change (who has been central to the development of the project), the trial encourages children and families to recycle their broken, hard plastic toys via toy recycling bins placed in selected Tesco stores.
The scheme – which runs from 4 September to 4 December – will start with 19 Tesco stores across the Sussex area before being rolled out to all Tesco stores if it proves successful and popular with customers.
Backed by global toy and games company, Hasbro, the initiative aims to drive a circular solution for unwanted or broken hard plastic toys. Families are first encouraged to rehome toys through charitable giving to friends, family, school toy sales or local charities. Broken toys can be recycled in store – where they are collected, cleaned, and turned into plastic pellets, before being used to create new items including coat hangers, chairs, and coffee machines.
Rehomed and recycled plastic toys can be registered via the Wastebuster website to earn Planet Care Points for any schools attended by children from 2 – 11 years old the Sussex area. Eligible schools can register for free to earn points for books at www.jointhepod.org/toys.
The Recycle to Read scheme will then reward the fifty highest point-scoring schools in the area with book vouchers from a prize fund of £5,000 to spend on a wide range of discounted books by children’s publishing house, Harper Collins. Participating schools can also win book bundles provided by Farshore and Ladybird, in a weekly prize draw.
Katy Newnham, founder of Wastebuster, said: “Recycle to Read supports families in learning about the environmental benefits of toy rehoming and recycling, while rewarding them with books for taking part. What better way can we inspire and empower children to make pro-environmental choices than by storytelling with their favourite characters and giving them an opportunity to send their unwanted toys on a new adventure that’s good for the planet?”
Launched by Wastebuster in association with Products of Change, the Recycle to Read campaign is powered by members of the toy industry and all major children’s publishers and distributors, including Immediate Media Company; Story House Egmont; Redan; Kennedy; Signature; DC Thompson; Frontline; and Seymour.
Wastebuster will also see the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) join the advisory team, in line with the Association’s broad support of the aims and intentions of the initiative.
Helena Mansell-Stopher, founder of Products of Change, added: “The Recycle to Read platform is the result of the tireless work of an industry coming together with cross-sector stakeholders around the need to find a more sustainable solution for unwanted or broken toys.
“After so many years in the making, it’s amazing to see the campaign come to life through this Hasbro and Tesco partnership. This is a hugely exciting moment that I believe represents a turning point for circularity in toys, and a wonderful example of what can be achieved when industry comes together in the pursuit of sustainability.”
The initiative has launched today with its own campaign feature video in which Wastebuster’s mascot, Buster and his pals visit a Tesco store to explore the toy recycling programme. Check out the video below.
Ally Rose, Tesco category director for toys, said: “We are always looking for new ways to remove, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic in our business, so we’re delighted to be able to support the Recycle to Read campaign as a way to help our customers to more of this at home. As well as trialling a new way we can work together on hard-to-recycle plastics, it also helps to give children greater access to reading.”
Hasbro’s director of marketing, Sara Westby, added: “At Hasbro, we know kids and families everywhere share our passion for protecting our planet, which is why we’re proud to partner with Wastebuster on the Recycle to Read campaign.We encourage everyone to keep their memories, but recycle their broken toys – doing good to the planet and to people.”