Business Model Innovation

Mattel is exploring a variety of new circular economy and business model innovations to extend product life and keep products and materials in use longer through resource recovery. While we build our products to be durable so they can be handed down or shared for further use, we also offer certain services to extend the life of our toys. 

American Girl Doll Hospital

At the American Girl Doll Hospital, consumers can ‘admit’ their beloved dolls in-store or online to be repaired and restored. By maintaining replacement parts for at least 15 years after a doll model’s retirement date, we can fix most parts that are broken, worn, or need replacement.

Common services include removing stains, reattaching limbs, and replacing eyes. We also offer a ‘wellness visit’ to clean the dolls, restyle their hair, and get their ears pierced or a hearing aid installed. When services are complete, we send the doll on its way with a Certificate of Good Health. In 2020, the American Girl Doll Hospital repaired more than 28,000 dolls, extending the play and lifetime of each. Nearly a quarter of the dolls we repair are 10 years old or older.

Advancing Circular Solutions

Mattel is committed to reducing waste and resource consumption in its value chain. We implement various eco-design and circular economy principles in the development of our products and packaging. Eco-design principles consider the environmental impact of the product or package during its entire life cycle, while circular design principles aim to create products that no longer have a life cycle with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Circular design principles support products that aim to be made and remade again.

With these principles in mind, we are designing more of our products for durability, recycling, recovery, and to reuse products, components, and materials. We also aim to make effective use of recycled content and other more sustainable materials that help support a circular economy.

Leveraging in-house and third-party life cycle assessment (LCA) tools, we are working to optimize product design and development choices to help reduce our environmental impact. We are also identifying solutions to advance a circular economy, including by collaborating with other companies on these solutions.

When our toys reach the end of their useful life, we have created a solution designed to allow us to take them back, recycle, and responsibly dispose of them – the Mattel PlayBack program. Consumers can return their toys to us, at no charge, and we will recover and when possible, reuse these valuable materials so that fun can come full circle.

Mattel’s Guiding Principles for a Circular Economy

The circular economy is a model aimed at eliminating waste and promoting the continual use of resources. 

  • Mindful of Materials

    We are designing more of our products and packaging with renewable, recycled, recyclable and bio-based materials.

  • Built to Last

    Our products are designed to be durable and to withstand rigorous play so they can have a long, useful life and be passed down to younger family members and friends. Some of our products are designed with modular components and repairable parts so they can be refurbished and kept in play even longer.

  • Recycle Ready

    We aim to make our products and packaging from materials that are easily recyclable so that consumers are more inclined to recycle them in regular waste streams, such as curbside recycling, and to utilize programs that inform consumers on how to responsibly recycle, like How2Recycle labeling. 

  • Responsible Recovery

    The materials we recover once a product reaches the end of its life can be reused for new products. By moving toward closed-loop design, we are helping to divert toys from landfills and extend their material value. 

Circularity in Packaging

We are applying principles of circular design to our packaging in support of the circular economy. Our enhanced efforts are concentrated in four principles of circularity: 

 

Reduce
Use less material.

 

Replace
Substitute virgin, nonsustainable materials with post-consumer recycled materials or materials derived from renewable sources.

 

Reuse
Develop packaging that is part of the play pattern of the product or can be used for storage.

 

Recover
Optimize our process for materials recovery and reuse, including adding consumer communications on packaging on how to responsibly recycle.