Mattel collecting old Barbie dolls, Matchbox cars in toy takeback program

Kids putting old Mattel toys into a box. (Teri Weber via Mattel)

Old toys are getting a new life.

Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls and MatchBox cars, is launching a program that would let families give back their old toys that will be used toward a recycling effort, the company said Monday.

The toy takeback program, called Mattel PlayBack, will let families extend the life of their unused toys after kids are finished playing with them in an eco-conscious mission to reuse materials from old products to make new ones, the company said.


Old Mattel toys in a box for Mattel PlayBack.  (Teri Weber)

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Mattel will first accept Barbie, Matchbox and Mega toys likely with more brands to follow. Consumers won’t have to pay to participate and can simply print out a shipping label via Mattel’s website and send them back. 

Mattel is the latest company to incentivize consumers to bring back used goods to be recycled into new ones. A slew of clothing companies has been doing this for years. Lululemon last month announced it would take back program letting customers bring back lightly worn yoga pants and other items and trade them in for a gift card that can be used toward new ones. Other stores like Patagonia, Macy’s and Gap have rolled out similar efforts and Nike last month debuted a shoe refurbishment program.

"Mattel toys are made to last and be passed on from generation to generation," Richard Dickson, President and Chief Operating Officer at Mattel said in a statement, adding that the toy takeback program will enable the company "to turn materials from toys that have lived their useful life into recycled materials for new products."

Mattel says it’s aiming to use 100% recycled, bio-based plastic materials across all of its products and packaging by 2030.