Mattel launches #TaptoRebox campaign to encourage parents to declutter and recycle

UK children will have received on average 10 new toys each this Christmas, with over half of parents worrying what to do with their preloved toys.

To help British parents declutter and live more sustainably, one of the world’s biggest toy companies, Mattel, has launched #TaptoRebox with Mattel PlayBack; a toy takeback programme for Barbie®, Matchbox® and MEGA® that will enable families to extend the life of their Mattel toys once they are finished playing with them.

The new programme is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys to live a new life, and supports the company’s goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials across all products and packaging by 2030.

Mattel is also teaming up with Professional Declutterer and Life Coach Kate Ibbotson, Founder of organisational service A Tidy Mind, to provide decluttering, donating and recycling tips to UK parents.

Kate says: “If you didn’t manage to declutter before Christmas, now is a great time to start as we look ahead to a New Year. Encourage children to donate toys to charity which they don’t use or have outgrown or use the Mattel Playback scheme.

“The A Tidy Mind team all donate and recycle items on behalf of their clients and are determined that nothing should go into landfill if it can be avoided so I am a big supporter of the Mattel PlayBack programme. I have found that children are passionate about donating and recycling their toys and it can develop their sense of empathy and social responsibility.”

At Mattel, we are committed to managing the environmental impact of our products,” adds Pamela Gill-Alabaster, Global Head of Sustainability, Mattel. “The Mattel PlayBack programme helps parents and caregivers ensure that materials stay in play, and out of landfills, with the aim to repurpose these materials as recycled content in new products. It is one important step we’re taking to address the growing global waste challenge.”

To participate in the Mattel PlayBack programme, consumers can visit, print a free shipping label, and pack and mail their outgrown Mattel toys back to Mattel.

The toys collected will be sorted and separated by material type and responsibly processed and recycled.

For materials that cannot be repurposed as recycled content, Mattel will either downcycle those materials or convert them from waste to energy. Presently, the programme will accept Barbie, Matchbox and MEGA toys for recycling with other brands to be added in the future.

The #TapToRebox campaign will also be launched in other European countries to encourage parents to donate or recycle old toys with Mattel Playback, with influencers and parents signing up to the scheme in the UK, Germany and France.


  1. While your child is excited by their new toys, pull out some of their older toys and consider what is no longer useful or past its shelf life. Encourage children to donate toys to charity which they don’t use or have outgrown.
  2. To avoid getting overwhelmed, declutter in small bite size chunks, i.e. one drawer or shelf at a time. Or decluttering by category is ideal because when you gather together similar items, it’s easy to identify duplicates and make decisions. When it comes to toys, you can subcategorize and go through each systematically i.e. dolls, building blocks, vehicles.
  3. Decide where you are going to store each category of toys (preferably near where they will be used) whilst considering the space available.
  4. Be prepared with donation bags, tape for broken boxes, small bags or boxes for cards & other little toys, elastic bands to hold paint brushes and so on. Keep a box to hand for random pieces which you find which belong to a game or toy you can’t locate right away.
  5. It’s up to you if you involve your little ones, depending on their age. But as a default, it is better to give them some control. You may want to involve them for some categories and not for others. Children love to give to other children who are less fortunate than themselves and that can be a meaningful conversation.
  6. Involve them in the process of donating to charity or recycling. Discuss why other children might need their toys. By passing some of their toys on, you will empower them, make them feel good about themselves and send an important message. It is well documented that doing things for others makes us happier in the long term and it’s never too late to start.
  7. Companies like Mattel are offering parent solutions to live more sustainably. Use Mattel PlayBack, a toy takeback programme that recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys that are at the end of their life.
  8. If decluttering without the child present, think about which toys they really love playing with. As a parent you’ll know which are special to them. If you’re unsure on a particular toy keep it to one side and ask them – this also builds trust. Don’t throw away a beloved possession or something you’re unsure about or clear their bedroom without their permission as this can could cause a breach of trust or even contribute to hoarding tendencies in later life.
  9. Label everything. This will help your children to tidy up & anyone else who is helping like a grandparent or nanny. If your child is too young to read, you could use photographs of what’s in that storage area.
  10. Remember your child doesn’t have to have 100 of everything, it’s about quality over quantity.

About Tessa Clayton

A former Chief Sub of Red magazine, Tessa Clayton is the Digital Editor of and ToyNews. As a freelance journalist she specialised in writing about parenting and family life, and has contributed to a wide variety of publications and websites including Tesco online, Mother & Baby, Livingetc, Junior, Boots Health & Beauty, Practical Parenting and Get in touch at

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