The toy field is synonymous with plastic squander. Toys use 40 tons of plastic for each and every $1 million in profits. Some of the most important brands—from Mattel to Lego to Hasbro—have launched formidable initiatives to minimize their international plastic footprint. For instance, Mattel lately launched the “Barbie Loves the Ocean” collection manufactured from plastic destined to turn into ocean waste sourced from Visualize Plastics in Mexico’s Baja peninsula.
“Ninety per cent of toys are manufactured of plastic and most of the packaging is one-use and non-recyclable plastic,” says Dune Ives, CEO of the ocean advocacy group, Lonely Whale.
Even though it is a move in the right way that the most significant mainstream toy providers are location sustainability goals and releasing eco-mindful product or service strains, it’s not likely the initiatives to cut down plastic in packaging or a single-off collections will be enough to reverse the damage of the plastic toy sector. Right after all, a perform kitchen is built of about 13 lbs of plastic—the equal of 400 vacant single-use plastic water bottles.
The new Barbie line is a smaller move in direction of achieving the brand’s lofty sustainability targets. Mattel has pledged to use 100 percent recycled, recyclable, or bio-centered plastic resources throughout the entire giving and packaging by 2030. The firm resources 93 p.c of the paper and wooden fiber used for packaging and products from recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) articles.
Can Mattel Truly Decrease Its Plastic Squander?
Barbie is not the only iconic toy cleansing up its plastic squander game. Mattel’s toy car company Matchbox released the “Drive Toward a Superior Future” determination throughout Earth Thirty day period 2021 with the first phase being to reduce plastic packaging. The Matchbox Electric power Grabs’ die-solid autos come in zero-plastic packaging created of FSC-qualified paper and wooden fiber. The toy Tesla Roadster is created of typically recycled materials—62.1 % recycled zinc, 36.9 % recycled plastic, and a person percent stainless metal (not recycled) and will be obtainable in 2022. Mattel intends to develop Matchbox toy variations of BMW, Nissan, and Toyota’s hybrid and electric cars.
Mattel’s well known card recreation is acquiring the eco-remedy much too. Uno produced a 100 % recyclable deck of cards. The playing cards themselves have generally been recyclable, but the firm is eliminating cellophane packaging from card decks this yr.
MEGA, Mattel’s creating sets, has a assortment of block items manufactured of bio-primarily based plastic working with FSC-certified recyclable packaging. Mattel also can make the Fisher-Cost Rock-A-Stack from bio-based sugarcane-centered plastics which is packaged in 100 % recycled or sustainably sourced product.
To combat plastic squander from discarded Barbie, Matchbox, and MEGA toys the organization is slated to start the Mattel Playback method to provide absolutely free shipping labels to stimulate buyers to return employed toys so that Mattel can repurpose the products to produce new toys.
Sustainability skilled Kristy Drutman suggests it’s greenwashing for manufacturers like Mattel to say they are marketing sustainable day-to-day behaviors. “If their day-to-working day functions aren’t remaining improved to be more sustainable, framing the stress of sustainability to be the challenge for individuals to offer with avoids corporate obligation for the difficulty at hand,” she suggests.
LEGO Desires to Build a Extra Sustainable Potential
Some huge toy organizations are building measurable modifications. For instance, LEGO operates entirely on renewable power. Still creating the goods needs more than 100,000 metric tons of petroleum-based mostly plastic a 12 months and 10 percent of the product’s packaging requires around 5,000 metric tons of plastic each year.
LEGO is hoping to combat the actuality that plastic LEGO bricks can survive in the ocean for up to 1,300 decades through a plan to repurpose previous toys, LEGO Replay. As there are a lot more than 400 billion LEGO bricks in existence there are a lot accessible to get secondhand.
The enterprise invested $400 million into sustainability initiatives, which includes operating toward carbon-neutral operations by 2022. The toy enterprise has invested in wind electricity and lower ties to SHELL soon after 50 decades. They are switching from single-use plastic bag packaging to recyclable baggage built with FSC-licensed paper by 2025. LEGO hopes to make all goods from sustainable products by 2030.
The company just unveiled bricks made from recycled plastic bottles. The solution of a few a long time of growth, LEGO states it hopes to function the recycled plastic bricks in sets within the upcoming two several years. About two per cent of LEGO bricks are produced from responsibly sourced sugarcane in partnership with the Earth Wildlife Fund accredited by the Bonsucro Chain of Custody Regular. “This action was a large elevate inside a heavily controlled industry. They’ve also manufactured wonderful strides in their use of renewable vitality and are commencing to address their plastic packaging. This move by LEGO developed a new typical within the toy field and since this announcement other corporations like Mattel have followed fit.” Ives claims.
What Will It Take To Make Plastic Toys Genuinely Sustainable?
Hasbro is phasing out plastic packaging by 2022—but not plastic toys. Board online games such as Monopoly and Scrabble will no more time have plastic bags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, or window sheets. The company’s sustainable aims also consist of reducing landfill waste by half, greenhouse gas emissions by a fifth, drinking water use by 15 percent, and strength usage by 25 percent by 2025. The brand’s toys can be recycled via TerraCycle which turns them into new merchandise. Hasbro offers a totally free shipping and delivery label to deliver aged toys to be upcycled into one thing new.
Huge toy models have to do far more to beat the industry’s overt plastic use. The adverse impact the toys are owning on the atmosphere will endanger the long term for the extremely little ones who are actively playing with the toys. Ives shared that an alarming 80 percent of all toys conclusion up in a landfill, incinerators, or the ocean.
Making more sustainable merchandise is a phase in the correct direction, but it’s not adequate to reverse injury or guarantee true environmental stewardship. “The complete provide chain needs to be tackled—not just a product line. Toy firms require to develop a really transparent lifecycle assessment of its products and processes to lessen h2o waste, reliance on petroleum, substances, and disposal,” Drutman suggests. Right up until mainstream toy companies implement sustainable practices to all areas of their business, toys will keep on to inherently be unsustainable.