Products of Change


Wed 05 Jan 2022 | by Rob Hutchins

Mattel launches #TaptoRebox to help parents declutter and recycle their children's preloved toys

Mattel has launched a new extension of its PlayBack toy take scheme under the banner #TaptoRebox, a social campaign designed to encourage parents to declutter, donate, and recycle their children’s preloved toys this year with tips and hints from the professionals. The new scheme has been launched in response to a survey of 2000 British parents commissioned by Mattel over the Christmas period, which found that on average, UK children have received 10 new toys this festive season, with over half of parents worrying what will happen to their old ones. The same survey discovered that 64 per cent of parents wish they had more opportunities to recycle their kids’ toys, while three quarters of British parents were geared up at the end of last year, to declutter their children’s bedrooms during the Christmas break. In order to help those parents declutter and live more sustainably, Mattel has launched its #TaptoRebox campaign with Mattel PlayBack – its toy take back scheme for Barbie, Matchbox, and MEGA brands that will now enable 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 to live a new life while supporting the company’s goal to achieve 100 per cent recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials across all products and packaging by 2030. To aid the cause, Mattel has teamed up with the professional declutterer and life coach, Kate Ibbotson, founder of the organisational service A Tidy Mind to provide decluttering, donating, and recycling tips to UK parents. “If you didn’t manage to declutter before Christmas, now is a great time to start as we look ahead to a New Year,” said Ibbotson. “Encourage children to donate toys to charity which they don’t use or have outgrown or use the Mattel Playback scheme. “The A Tidy Mind team all donate and recycle items on behalf of their clients and are determined that nothing should go to landfill if it can be avoided, so I am a big supporter of the Mattel PlayBack programme. I have found that children are passionate about donating and recycling their toys and it can develop their sense of empathy and social responsibility.” Mattel’s global head of sustainability, Pamela Gill-Alabaster, added: “At Mattel, we are committed to managing the environmental impact of our products. The Mattel PlayBack programme 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 products. “It is one important step we are taking to address the growing global waste challenge.” To participate in the Mattel PlayBack programme, consumers can visit to 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. Materials that cannot be repurposed as recycled content will either be downcycled or converted from waste to energy. Currently, the programme is accepting Barbie, Matchbox, and MEGA toys for recycling. Other brands will be added to the scheme in the future. The #TaptoRebox campaign will also be launched in other European countries to encourage parents to donate or recycle old toys with Mattel PlayBack, with influencers and parents signing up to the scheme in the UK, Germany, and France. Mattel’s survey found that parents currently recycle 18 per cent of their child’s outgrown toys, while half of British parents will make a New Year’s Resolution to live more sustainably in 2022, with recycling the number one way to achieve this. Are you looking to live more sustainably this year? Take a look at Kate Ibbotson’s top ten tips for parents decluttering after Christmas: ONE: If you didn’t manage to declutter before Christmas, now is a great time to start as we look ahead to a New Year. While your child is excited by their new toys, pull out some of their older toys and consider what is no longer useful or past its shelf life. Encourage children to donate toys to charity which they don’t use or have outgrown. TWO: To avoid getting overwhelmed, declutter in small bite size chunks i.e. one drawer or shelf at a time. Or decluttering by category is ideal because when you gather together similar items, it’s easy to identify duplicates and make decisions. When it comes to toys, you can subcategorize and go through each systematically i.e. dolls, building blocks, vehicles. THREE: Decide where you are going to store each category of toys (preferably near where they will be used) whilst considering the space available. FOUR: Be prepared with donation bags, tape for broken boxes, small bags or boxes for cards & other little toys, elastic bands to hold paint brushes and so on. Keep a box to hand for random pieces which you find which belong to a game or toy you can’t locate right away. FIVE: It’s up to you if you involve your little ones, depending on their age. But as a default, it is better to give them some control. You may want to involve them for some categories and not for others. Children love to give to other children who are less fortunate than themselves & that can be a meaningful conversation. SIX: Involve them in the process of donating to charity or recycling. Discuss why other children might need their toys. By passing some of their toys on, you will empower them, make them feel good about themselves and send an important message. It is well documented that doing things for others makes us happier in the long term and it’s never too late to start. SEVEN: Companies like Mattel are offering parent solutions to live more sustainably. Mattel PlayBack is a toy takeback programme that recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys that are at the end of their life. Consumers can visit, print a free shipping label, and pack and mail their outgrown Barbie, Matchbox and MEGA toys Mattel toys back to Mattel to be responsibly processed and recycled. EIGHT: If decluttering without the child present, think about which toys they really love playing with. As a parent you’ll know which are special to them. If you’re unsure on a particular toy keep it to one side and ask them – this also builds trust. Don’t throw away a beloved possession or something you’re unsure about or clear their bedroom without their permission as this can could cause a breach of trust or even contribute to hoarding tendencies in later life. NINE: Label everything. This will help your children to tidy up and anyone else who is helping like a grandparent or nanny. If your child is too young to read, you could use photographs of what’s in that storage area. TEN: Remember your child doesn’t have to have 100 of everything, it’s about quality over quantity.