The Recycle to Read initiative rewards children for their recycling efforts by providing them with books and reading resources that support literacy.
Sambro International, which specialises in licensed toys from some of the biggest global kids’ properties including Paw Patrol, Baby Shark, Barbie and Disney Princess, has partnered with Wastebuster and Products of Change to become the most recent toy company to join the growing membership of the Recycle to Read programme.
The Recycle to Read initiative works with organisations and schools across the UK to facilitate the recycling and the re-use of toys, small electrical items and textiles. Participating schools and communities are then rewarded with books and reading resources to support children’s literacy.
According to a spokesperson, the Recycle to Read programme ‘unlocks the value of collaborative advantage’ by providing an industry-wide infrastructure solution for recycling all broken, hard plastic toys that consumers can engage with easily.
Collected plastic toys are sent to a specialised recycling plant, separated into specific plastic types and turned into pellet form, ready to be recycled into new products, such as construction boards, outdoor furniture, or playground equipment. Schools are encouraged to hold toy swap shop events to recirculate or sell toys suitable for reuse, and to take any toys not sold or given away to local charities.
By partnering with Wastebuster, the environmental education company that founded the scheme, Sambro is helping scale it into further sites, allowing it to reach and educate more children. The company has also set up Wastebuster bins in its own office, to collect broken samples dismantled for testing purposes.
As part of Sambro’s own ESG strategy, which this year has seen it switch to 100% recycled filling across its licensed plush range, the toy company has placed a focus on education and awareness among consumers when it comes to recycling. This ensures the buyers of its toys are armed with the information they need to make informed purchasing and recycling decisions.
Sambro has already started to action the addition of QR codes on packaging which direct consumers to a dedicated web page, complete with details of what materials can be recycled and how best to recycle them. Changes are being made to packaging across the board, with plastic elements being removed where possible and FSC card being introduced. Snipes detailing these changes are being added to the front of packaging.
Lisa Longley, Ethical and Sustainability manager at Sambro, said: “Sustainability is a key focus for the toy industry, which has traditionally been a heavy user of plastics. Retailers and brands need to work together to ensure it’s top of the agenda and wherever possible, we replace or support innovative solutions to re-use. We need to ensure we are effectively communicating with, and educating consumers on how to make more sustainable buying choices. At Sambro we fully support the circular economy and we’re excited to be a part of the Recycle to Read scheme.”
More than 30 companies have now joined the Recycle to Read campaign, with 120 local authorities expressing an interest in supporting local community engagements.
Katy Newnham, founder of Wastebuster, said: “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. By working together, we can turn the dial for a whole generation, to promote and enable responsible consumption and production.”