Mattel’s Toy Takeback Program Aims to Reduce Waste — & They Are Now Accepting Outgrown Fisher-Price Toys

Toys are meant to be played with. I still have Barbie dolls from when I was a kid that I cherish, and my mom kept some of my siblings’ toys that my kids now get to play with when they visit. However, some toys are only enjoyed for a short time — and then what’s a parent supposed to do with them? If you have another kid you can give them to, that’s great, but if they are headed for the trash, consider donating them instead. Mattel PlayBack program is an easy, sustainable way to recycle and reuse outgrown toys!

“The Mattel PlayBack program has been eagerly received by consumers and has provided tremendous learning specific to the durability and disassembly of our products, which will aid in the future design of products made for the circular economy,” said Pamela Gill-Alabaster, SVP Global Head of Sustainability and Social Impact, Mattel, in a recent press release. “We are also exploring new technologies in plastic processing and recycling, with our longer-term goal to use materials collected through Mattel PlayBack in future toy production.”

The program is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys in future Mattel products, according to the release. This will help keep outgrown toys from landfills and support the company’s goal to achieve a “100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials in its products and packaging by 2030.”

Mattel PlayBack already included Barbie, MEGA, and Matchbox brands, and now it will accept the Fisher-Price family of toys as well. Fisher-Price is the number one infant and preschool toy company in the world, which includes Thomas & Friends, Laugh & Learn, Little People, Imaginext, and other brands. Over a billion Fisher-Price toys alone have sold since the 1930s! So, the chances are likely that if you’re a parent, you probably have at least one toy (and probably many, many more!) that your kid doesn’t use and you don’t plan on keeping.

“At Fisher-Price, we design toys to be loved, cherished and passed on from one generation to the next,” said Chuck Scothon, SVP and GM of Fisher-Price Infant and Preschool, in the release. “The Mattel PlayBack program, aimed at repurposing these materials into new products and helping the environment, now provides parents and caregivers the opportunity to give these beloved Fisher-Price toys a new lease on life.”

Parents in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, and the U.K. are welcome to participate in the Mattel Playback program. To send your used toys in, visit, print a free shipping label, pack a box of outgrown Mattel toys, and mail it back. The toys will be sorted and separated by material type and responsibly processed and recycled. If they can’t be repurposed into new toys, Mattel will either downcycle those materials into other plastic products or convert them from waste to energy.

Mattel cited a recent survey by the Toy Association, which found 78% of parents said the sustainability of a toy for their child was important to them. So, you can rest assured knowing when you buy new Fisher-Price or other Mattel toys for your littles, they can be recycled and reused when your child inevitably gets bored. That’s a win for the environment and for your playroom!

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