Hasbro launches UK-wide recycling scheme for plastic toys

Hasbro is one of the world's largest toy companies and the owner of brands including Play Doh

Under the scheme, members of the public will be able to drop off their used toys at any one of 200 collection points, hosted at locations such as supermarkets and community centres.

TerraCycle will then take the collected items for separating and shredding, ready for use in new products such as outdoor furniture and planters.

Toys from any Hasbro brand will be accepted, with users of the scheme encouraged to drop-off dolls, action figures and other rigid toys, along with plush toys and board games. Electronic toys and games are not covered by the scheme.

Users of the scheme will be incentivised to keep donating through a rewards programme, whereby they receive 100 loyalty points for every kilogram of toys dropped off. Points can then be redeemed online for financial donations to schools and charities.

Hasbro is already using this model for toy take-back schemes in the US, Canada, France, Germany and Brazil and claims it has proven a great success since its advent in 2018.

“We are proud to partner with Hasbro to launch this national recycling programme in the UK, given its popularity in other countries around the world,” TerraCycle Europe’s general manager Laure Cucuron said.

“The aim of the programme is to encourage new generations to recycle their well-loved toys and games and have a positive impact on the environment.”

Hasbro is notably aiming to remove “virtually all” plastic from its product packaging by the end of 2022. Polybags, shrink wrap, window sheets and elastic bands will all be phased out over the next two years, following a successful phase-out of non-recyclable wire ties.

Take-back boom

The past two years have seen TerraCycle launch a vast swathe of recycling initiatives in the UK in partnership with businesses.

Boots, Hovis, Ella’s Kitchen, Mars PetcareColgate Palmolive and Kellogg are among TerraCyle’s partner businesses in the UK. TerraCycle is also behind the UK’s first recycling scheme for crisp packets, hosted in conjunction with Walkers. The scheme, launched after pressure from green groups and consumers, collected 500,000 crisp packets within its first three months of operation.

There were fears that TerraCycle would lose much business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the facilities playing host to many of its drop-off points closing, recycling facilities implementing social distancing measures and public concerns around the hygiene aspects of reusing and recycling increasing. However, the firm has pivoted to place more of a focus on take-backs via post and has also developed a recycling service for PPE.

Aside from recycling, TerraCycle is heavily investing in the reuse market. Its Loop platform, backed by retailers including Carrefour, Kroger and Tesco, alongside brands such as Colgate Palmolive and PepsiCo, has snowballed in popularity since it was first announced in 2019. While expansions to new markets including the UK and Canada have been postponed due to Covid-19, expansions within existing markets – the US and France – have continued.

Sarah George

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