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Wastebuster, EPPIC, Products of Change Create ‘Recycle to Read’ Program

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The program is meant to engage consumers and businesses in the toy industry to recycle for rewards.

Wastebuster in association with Extended Plastics Partnership for Innovation in Circularity and Products of Change is bringing together cross-sector stakeholders to share knowledge, resources and finance in a bid to develop an efficient, environmental and sustainable infrastructure for recycling plastic toys.

The program, operating under the title ‘Recycle to Read’, aims to engage consumers to recycle right and recycle toys (including small electricals and textiles) and to reward participating schools and communities with books and reading resources to improve children’s literacy.

The Recycle to Read provides an industry-wide infrastructure solution for recycling all plastic toys that consumers can engage with. By coordinating toy, tech and textiles ‘Take Back’ collections in retailers, schools and household recycling centres, across the U.K. Initially, the program aims to unlock social, economic and environmental benefits for the communities in which it operates.

“We believe in the power of collective impact,” says Katy Newnham, founder, Wastebuster. “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 program 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.”
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 program across schools, retail, brand, toy and publishing partners.

The program is off to a strong start – over 40 companies and 70 local authorities took part in a special round table webinar last month, to find out more about the campaign.

“Products of Change are extremely proud to be working with Katy and her team to bring a fully circular solution to toy recycling in the U.K., to be rolled out internationally over the coming years,” says Helena Mansell Stopher, director, Products of Change.  “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”. 

For more details on the campaign (and to sign up to the next webinar), visit the Recycle to Read website.

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