Mattel announced today that every Matchbox toy and die-cast car, including the packaging they come in, will be made with 100% recyclable plastics by 2030. This is part of a broader initiative across the entire Mattel corporation to make all products and packaging from fully recyclable plastics by 2030 as well, so expect similarly sustainable to come from Hot Wheels in the future.
The first toy under this initiative will fittingly be a die-cast of the new Tesla Roadster, which will be on sale in 2022. (It's still unknown when the real Tesla Roadster will actually go on sale.) The Matchbox Roadster is made from 99% recycled materials: 62.1% recycled zinc, 36.9% recycled plastic and 1% not-recycled stainless steel.
Mattel sent me one of the Roadsters so I could experience it for myself, and, well, it pretty much feels like a regular Matchbox car. The body is made from the recycled zinc metal and it feels normal, but the chassis base has an almost 3D-printed feel to the plastic material. (The axles are the only part of the car to use the stainless steel.) It does feel a tiny bit lighter than a traditional Matchbox toy, but not by much. The car is painted white and has printed-on headlights and taillights, as well as Tesla's "zero emissions" script on the license plate. The side windows, windshield, rear window and roof panel are all transparent plastic, and the molded interior has the yoke-style steering wheel.
The packaging might the coolest part, though. It came in a pretty sizable box that opens to reveal a product tray containing the toy itself that's covered by a packaging sleeve with an open window to show off the car. Everything is well designed with nice graphics and great fonts, and the construction and materials are prominently featured in writing all over the packaging. While this large box probably won't be exactly what you'll actually be able to buy on shelves, the smaller package that actually contains the car should be similar to what will be found in stores.
The process of actually recycling the packaging is made easy, too. The boxes tell you exactly what each part of the package is made from and whether it's recyclable or even compostable -- for example, the tray that the Roadster comes in is made from bio-degradable materials and is home compostable, so you could put it to use in your garden. QR codes on playsets bring up a guide on how to recycle the electronics, which are consolidated into a single module that's easily removable.
Consumers already can buy some Matchbox toys that have sustainable packaging. The Power Grabs assortment packs use zero-plastic packaging, and there's a new five-pack of hybrid and EV die-casts that has an inner tray made from paper foam. Furthering the eco-friendly theme, Matchbox's gas station playsets will include electric car chargers, and Matchbox says it will introduce more EV toys.
Matchbox is going sustainable, starting with this new Tesla Roadster