Mattel Launches New Recycled “Ocean-Bound Plastic” Collection Called Barbie Loves the Ocean

Mattel has announced a new collection of Barbie dolls made from “Ocean-Bound Plastic”. There’s something about that verbiage that is a hard strike. To my ears, it is a passive aggressive “Hey. Hey. Hey you. Yeah, you– buy these Barbies or this crap-plastic is heading right for the ocean. The choice is yours. Do you want to fish to die?”

Sure, this might be an embellishment or a mad case of the hyperboles but I don’t need a lecture, Mattel!

We have discussed Mattel’s efforts to make greener toy lines and packaging by reusing materials. And sure, on paper the effort looks really good. It’s just a balancing act in terms of marketing gimmick versus sincere sustainability. I guess the only way we can know is if Mattel releases some sort of reporting throughout this process. It’s funny, because I feel like they are backing themselves into a corner that no one else told them to go into. So, with all of these sustainability reused, recycled toy lines they are going after, they are going to have eyes on them to ensure they are doing it “right” and not just looking like Planeteer Heroes.

For example, when I did my review of the new Matchbox Tesla toy that claimed to be made from recycled metal for the car and cardboard in the packaging, people in the comments marveled how in an effort to lower that carbon footprint, Mattel stuck this Matchbox car in huge, bulky packaging that was like three times the amount of trash than an average Matchbox or Hot Wheels that comes affixed to a simple cardboard blister card. So, with these new Barbies, will she come in a simple paper bag cover slip or something to that effect? Or will we have a huge cardboard box with window packaging plastic and an endless soliloquy stroking their own zipadee do dahs and singing their own sustainability praises? My guess would be the latter– but if Mattel really wants to impress us, they can tell us what exactly these Barbies used to be before they were melted down and shoved into dolly molds. And I’m really hoping that I get a Barbie that used to be a lawn chair or something– the mental imagery makes me laugh.

Official Press Release via Mattel:

New Campaign ‘The Future of Pink is Green’ Engages Kids in Supporting a Greener Future

Mattel, Inc. introduces Barbie Loves the Ocean, its first fashion doll line made from recycled ocean-bound plastic*. The launch is in line with Mattel’s goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials across all its products and packaging by 2030.

“This Barbie launch is another addition to Mattel’s growing portfolio of purpose-driven brands that inspire environmental consciousness with our consumer as a key focus,” said Richard Dickson, President and Chief Operating Officer, Mattel. “At Mattel, we empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. We take this responsibility seriously and are continuing to do our part to ensure kids can inherit a world that’s full of potential, too.”

Mattel has always known that a small doll can make a big impact. Looking to the future, Barbie® remains dedicated to advancing its role and lending its global platform to create a better world for kids everywhere by focusing on diversity and inclusion, equal opportunity and now, sustainability in the following ways:

Barbie Loves the Ocean Collection: The collection includes three dolls whose bodies are made from 90% recycled ocean-bound plastic parts* and an accompanying Beach Shack playset and accessories, made from over 90% recycled plastic. Mattel’s high manufacturing standards ensure that this line delivers the same quality of play that parents have come to expect from Barbie.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Goal: Barbie aims to achieve95% recycled or FSC-certified paper and wood fiber materials used in packaging by the end of 2021.

New Barbie Vlogger Episode: Barbie Shares How We Can All Protect the Planet,’ a new vlog on Barbie’s immensely popular YouTube vlogger series teaches young fans about the importance of taking care of our planet and everyday habit changes they can make to create an impact. Barbie Vlogger is an online series that provides a platform for Barbie to talk directly to her fans, while balancing “teachable” moments that highlight Barbie as a role model, along with fun YouTube trends, like DIY challenges.

The Future of Pink is Green new brand campaign: Launching in partnership with BBH LA, the new campaign will leverage the brand’s iconic association of pink—alongside the iconic association of green with protecting the planet—to communicate our next step toward a greener future, and to educate kids on the importance of sustainability in an easily digestible way for fans of all ages.

Limited-edition 4ocean x Barbie bracelet:Barbie is teaming up with 4ocean, a purpose-driven business on a mission to end the ocean plastic crisis, to launch a limited-edition 4ocean x Barbie bracelet in signature pink made with post-consumer recycled materials and hand-assembled by artisans in Bali. For every bracelet sold, 4ocean will pull one pound of trash from oceans, rivers and coastlines and contribute educational materials to inspire and empower the next generation. 

“Our 62-year legacy is steeped in evolution, as we consistently drive forward initiatives designed to better reflect the world kids see around them. Barbie Loves the Ocean is a prime example of sustainable innovations we’ll make as part of creating a future environment where kids can thrive,” said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel. “We are passionate about leveraging the scope and reach of our global platform to inspire kids to be a part of the change they want to see in the world.”  

The Barbie program is one of many launches supporting Mattel’s corporate goal to use 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials in all products and packaging by 2030. Other efforts include the recently launched Mattel PlayBack, a toy takeback program designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys for future Mattel products and Drive Toward a Better Future, Mattel’s product roadmap to make all Matchbox die-cast cars, playsets and packaging with 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials by 2030. Last year, Mattel also introduced several toys that ladder up to this commitment including the Fisher-Price® Rock-a-Stack® and Fisher-Price® Baby’s First Blocks, made from bio-based plastics, three MEGA Bloks® sets made from bio-based plastics, and UNO® Nothin’ But Paper, the first fully recyclable UNO® deck without cellophane packing materials.  

For more information on the Barbie brand’s efforts to protect the planet, visit: Barbie.com/EnvironmentalImpact. For more information on Mattel’s corporate sustainability efforts, visit https://corporate.mattel.com/en-us/citizenship/sustainability.

*Plastic parts made from 90% plastic sourced within 50km of waterways in areas lacking formal waste collection systems. Doll head, shoes, tablet and beach lantern accessory excluded.

About Mattel

Mattel is a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest catalogs of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends®, UNO® and MEGA®, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 35 locations and our products are available in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and ecommerce companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in empowering children to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential.

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