The environmental awareness platform, Wastebuster has partnered with Products of Change to bring together a cross-sector of stakeholders to share knowledge, resources, and finance, to develop an efficient, environmental, and sustainable means of recycling plastic toys.
In partnership with EPPIC (Extended Plastics Partnerships for Innovation in Circularity) the programme will operate under the title Recycle to Read and will engage consumers to recycle their toys (including small electricals and textiles) and to reward participating schools and communities with books and reading resources to improve literacy.
The programme aims to provide an industry-wide solution for recycling all plastic toys while providing a platform for consumers to engage with easily. It will look to co-ordinate toy, tech, and textiles ‘Take Back’ collections in retailers, schools, and household recycling centres across the UK.
As it builds it will look to unlock considerable social, economic, and environmental benefits for the communities in which it operates.
The programme also provides research and industry insight into toy design for recyclability, to support the move towards a more circular future for toy production.
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.
By bringing together a critical mass of cross-sector members, Recycle to Read can deliver a recycling system for toys that benefits its members, society and most importantly, the environment.
Developed by Katy Newnham, founder of Wastebuster, the Recycle to Read campaign and its Toy Take Back initiative is being billed as a ‘dynamic research programme’ and the “start of the creation of a circular and sustainable future for toy production.” The programme will be a multi-stakeholder collaboration that spans industry, government, and consumer networks.
Already 40 companies and 70 local authorities have taken steps to become a part of the programme, having taken part in a special roundtable webinar last month.
“We believe in the power of collective impact,” said Newnham. “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.”
“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 can 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.”
Helena Mansell Stopher, director of Products of Change, added: “Products of Change is extremely proud to be working with Katy and her team to bring a fully circular solution to toy recycling in the UK, to be rolled out internationally over the coming years.
“For an industry to be part of actually building an infrastructure of this magnitude, to also be linked to rewarding schools to positively effect children’s literacy, is pretty phenomenal.”
Among those to have pledged their support to the campaign as founding members is Immediate Media.
“We hope it will bring the whole toy industry together to help create a recycling ecosystem for plastic toys at the end of their useful life and generate a momentum of its own once the word of the scheme spreads,” said Andy Marshall, group managing director of Immediate Media Co.
Peter Rooke, director of Smart Toys and Games, a member of Recycle to Read, added: “Sustainability in toys is so important for the toy industry.
“The single use and giveaway toy world is particularly under threat and is in the sights of regulators so change must come to that aspect of the industry quickly.
“I fully support the circular economy and for toys, one that is restorative and regenerative by design.”