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Wastebuster’s Toy Take Back scheme looks to licensing industry for support

Project is driving a nationwide call to ‘recycle right’ with collected plastic toys being recycled into new products.

Not for profit social enterprise Wastebuster is encouraging the licensing industry to get on board with its Toy Take Back scheme as part of its ongoing sustainability efforts.

The company – which specialises in recycling reward campaigns that unlock social, economic and environmental benefits for the societies in which they operate – is sharing the message with licensors that by supporting the initiative they will be aligning their brands with clear environmental messaging.

Toy companies are being encouraged to get involved to improve the recyclability of their toys while, for retailers, they will be able to further engage their customers with recycling.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Wastebuster in association with EPPIC and Products of Change.

The Toy Take Back is part of a broader programme designed to help communities recycle right and recycle more, while providing new infrastructure to process hard to recycle plastics.

The ‘Recycle to Read’ scheme will collect plastic toys (plus textiles and waste electrical and electronic items) and demonstrate their value by exchanging them for books and reading resources for schools.

The collected plastic toys will be recycled into new products, such as construction boards, outdoor furniture or playground equipment. Any plastic toys suitable for reuse will be recirculated by charity partners. The project will drive a nationwide call to action to ‘Recycle Right’ and promote the Toy Take Back linked to the Recycle to Read rewards programme across schools, retail, brand, toy and publishing partners.

However, Katy Newnham, founder of Wastebuster, was keen to reiterate to Source that the Recycle to Read campaign and its Toy Take Back infrastructure is more than simply a recycling campaign or environmental educational programme.

She describes it as ‘a dynamic research programme’ and the start of the creation of a circular and sustainable future for toy production, through multi-stakeholder collaboration including industry, government and consumers.

And it’s off to a strong start – last week saw over 40 companies take part in a special round table webinar to find out more about the campaign, while another is set to take place on August 12.

“We believe in the power of collective impact,” Katy told Source. “By coming together, brand owners, toy manufacturers, retailers, publishers, recyclers, governments, schools and consumers, we have the ability to work together to share intelligence and resources to create a workable, long-term, sustainable solution to plastic toy recycling.

“The real power of the Recycle to Read/Toy Take Back programme is in collective impact. We all have a role we could play to support this important project and the move towards not only creating a more sustainable future for the toy industry, but educating and empowering a whole generation to act as responsible consumers.”

Katy continued: “There is no time like now to change the future of the toy industry. Acting as a responsible business is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It is a commercial necessity and environmental imperative. We have the ability to turn the dial for a whole generation, to promote and enable responsible consumption and production. Let’s make this a good news story for industry, for children and for the planet. Let’s work together to do that.”

For more details on the campaign (and to sign up to the next webinar), simply click on this link. You can also contact Katy on to find out how to get involved.

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