Recycle your Barbies, Matchbox cars and more by mailing old toys to Mattel

Finished playing with it? Mattel will reuse materials for future toys

Bridget Carey Principal Video Producer
Bridget Carey is an award-winning reporter who helps you level-up your life -- while having a good time geeking out. Her exclusive CNET videos get you behind the scenes as she covers new trends, experiences and quirky gadgets. Her weekly video show, "One More Thing," explores what's new in the world of Apple and what's to come. She started as a reporter at The Miami Herald with syndicated newspaper columns for product reviews and social media advice. Now she's a mom who also stays on top of toy industry trends and robots. (Kids love robots.)
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Bridget Carey
2 min read

Mattel PlayBack is a free way to recycle your old Barbie, Matchbox and Mega toys.


When it's time to move out of Barbie's Dreamhouse, the next stop doesn't have to be the landfill. Mattel is taking back old Barbie, Matchbox and Mega toys for free as part of a new toy recycling program called Mattel PlayBack. Consumers can print out a free shipping label to mail their outgrown toys back to the California company — and have the parts reused to make future products. 

The new recycling program is the latest step Mattel is taking to become more sustainable and reach its goal of having 100 percent recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials across all products and packaging by 2030. 

To get a free shipping label for qualifying toys, go to Mattel's official site and click the "Get Started" button. The label will be emailed to you one hour after submitting your request. 

You'll need to supply your own box to mail out the toys. But you don't need to worry about cleaning or repairing the toys before sending them back. (Mattel just asks that you do remove the batteries.) 

Mattel will sort through the toys collected, separate them by material type, then have them processed. For materials that can't be repurposed in new toys, Mattel announced it will either turn them into other plastic products or covert it from waste to energy. 

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We're already seeing Mattel make toys from eco-friendly materials. Three Mega Bloks sets last year were made from plant-based plastics, along with Fisher-Price's baby blocks and ring stack set. There's also a version of the card game Uno called "Nothin' But Paper," which is the first fully recyclable Uno deck without cellophane wrap. 

And last month, Matchbox began showing off its own tiny Tesla Roadster, the first die-cast vehicle made from 99% recycled materials and certified CarbonNeutral. It's available to buy in 2022. (And yes, even the packaging is recyclable and compostable.)


Mattel has a lineup of Matchbox cars made from recycled materials, including a Tesla Roadster arriving in 2022.


Mattel is not the only toymaker aiming to go green. Lego has a program called Lego Replay to donate used bricks to children's nonprofits in the US. And Hasbro partners with TerraCycle to offer its consumers a free shipping label to mail off and responsibly dispose of Hasbro toys and games. And Hasbro is phasing out plastic from its packaging, as well. 

Mattel's program is first launching in the United States and Canada, and similar take back programs for Mattel toys also launched in France, Germany and the UK

Right now, only Barbie, Matchbox and Mega toys are included in the program. But the company says it wants to eventually expand the program to accept any Mattel toy. 

So maybe all those orange Hot Wheels tracks will soon get the green treatment, too. 

Barbie's careers though the years

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