Marcus Lawrence | 

Mattel PlayBack: A Sustainable Solution for Old Toys

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Have you ever wondered what to do with your old toys? Rather than just throwing them away or dropping them off at a thrift store, Mattel wants you to send them to them. The toymaker has introduced a recycling program called Mattel PlayBack, which gives old toys new life.

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Mattel PlayBack accepts Barbie, Matchbox, and Mega toys.

A child putting a Barbie doll into a box of old toys

Mattel is trying to be more sustainable, and since they know exactly the materials that are in their own toys, they’re accepting old Barbie, Matchbox, and Mega toys with the PlayBack program.

Eventually, they want to accept all Mattel toys. Non-Mattel toys aren’t part of the program.


How to participate in the Mattel Playback program.

Children putting old toys into a box for the Mattel PlayBack program

To participate in the Mattel PlayBack program, you need to visit the PlayBack website, enter some brief information about you and the toys you’re shipping, and print out a free shipping label, which you’ll get in your email. Then grab any box from around the house, put the toys inside, and tape the shipping label onto the box. After that, you have various ways to send your package in the U.S., including taking it to the post office, dropping it in a mail collection box, leaving it for your letter carrier, or scheduling a free carrier pickup through Even DoorDash will pickup your package — for $5 a box.


Why you don’t have to clean up your toys.

One of the great things about the Mattel PlayBack program is that you don’t have to clean up the toys before sending them. They really DO want your well-used, well-loved old toys. Mattel wants to reuse the toy materials in new toys, but if that’s not possible, they’ll turn the toys into other plastic products or convert them from waste to energy. Just make sure to take out any batteries, though.

Related: Check out these easy ways to clean toys.



What to do with toys in “like new” condition.

It’s important to note that if your toys are in “like new” condition, Mattel encourages you to re-gift them or donate them to a thrift store. However, if the toys are in rough shape or no longer work, the PlayBack program is a great option.


No monetary compensation, but the PlayBack program is still a good deal.

A box of old toys collected for the Mattel PlayBack program sitting on a counter

While Mattel won’t pay you anything for your old toys, the program helps the environment and saves you a trip to the thrift store, which wouldn’t have paid you anything anyway. But if you want to try and sell your toys, online marketplaces such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and resellers like Kid to Kid are great places to start.


Supporting Mattel’s commitment to sustainability.

A little girl holding a Mattel Play Back box

The Mattel PlayBack program is a great way to reduce waste and contribute to a more sustainable future. As a company, Mattel is taking an important step towards reducing the environmental impact of their products, and we, as consumers, can help them achieve their goals by participating in this program.

By recycling your old toys, you’re not only helping the environment, but you’re also supporting a company committed to sustainability. So next time you’re cleaning out your toy collection, consider sending your old Barbie, Matchbox, and Mega toys to Mattel PlayBack instead of throwing them away. Who knows, maybe the materials from your old toys will end up in a brand-new toy that a child will love just as much as you did.

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