Mattel partners with contemporary artist and activist Shepard Fairey to launch environmentally focused UNO

Mattel has partnered up with the renowned contemporary artist, activist, and illustrator, Shepard Fairey for the release of a new UNO deck made with sustainable materials and themed around the artist’s environmental activism.

The new deck has been designed by both Fairey and the UNO team at the artist’s LA studio, Studio Number One and features new, original environmentally-themed art in Fairey’s iconic graphic style and design elements. These elements include a consistent illustration style and colour palette to mirror the artist’s signature style.

The latest in Mattel’s UNO Artiste Series, the new launch – housed on Mattel Creations – joins a line up of previous artists to have featured in the UNO series, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Nina Chanel Abney.

Shepard Fairey’s collaboration with Mattel sees the toymaker deliver an UNO deck made entirely with sustainable materials, including recyclable cards, a paper belly band around the cards, wood-free paper for the instruction sheet and the removal of all cellophane wrapping.

This special deck follows an earlier launch of UNO Nothin’ But Paper, recognised as the first fully recyclable UNO deck that did away with its cellophane packaging materials as part of the brand’s plan to remove the cellophane from 100 per cent of standard, paper-based decks in 2021. This is also in line with Mattel’s goal to achieve 100 per cent recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials across its products and packaging by 2030.

To take the partnership to the next level, Mattel is also making a donation on behalf of Fairey to Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the oceans through federal and state legislation, in support of his initiatives.

Kids Industries and WWF rally for final Webby Awards push as voting closes today

The final hours of voting for this year’s Webby Awards are now upon us, and so too are the chances to see the UK’s own Kids Industries storm the charts and take home the Family and Kids award for its collaboration on the popular WWF app.

The app, called Amazing Planet and developed to help educate children about the world they live in, is one of five shortlisted children and family-geared applications and features alongside the likes of The Cat in the Hat Invents kids’ app developed in partnership with Dr Seuss, the PBS Kids Video app, and Duolingo ABC.

Kids Industries has been involved in the development of the WWF app, Amazing Planet, one that utilises technology to help children learn about the environment and the world around them. From an AR map that is regularly updated with the weather, temperature, and animal species living across the globe, to information packs with activities and AR stickers that bring scaled down versions of the Earth’s creatures to the palm of your hand, the WWF app calls itself ‘no ordinary subscription product.’

WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, active in nearly 100 countries. Its supporters – more than five million globally – are helping the organisation to restore nature and to tackle the main causes of nature’s decline, particularly the food system and climate change.

“We want a world with thriving habitats and species, and we want to change hearts and minds so it becomes unacceptable to overuse our planet’s resources,” reads a description included within the finalist’s bio Webby Awards bio.

Voting for this year’s Webby Awards will close today, May 6th and winners will be revealed on May 18th this year.

Kids Industries is encouraging anyone considering voting to do so here:

“The natural world is really important to preserve and we think this product is a great way to share this motive with younger generations,” said the team.

MeteoHeroes to air on major Latin American broadcasters on Earth Day this week

Mondo TV Iberoamerica has landed a major agreement with a sweep of broadcasters across Latin America to broadcast four specially selected episodes of the environmentally themed kids’ show MeteoHeroes on Earth Day this year.

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated across the globe on April 22nd to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Its message is echoed within the value proposition of MeteoHeroes, a show devised to help kids understand complex and current issues about climate, pollution, and protecting the planet.

MeteoHeroes is the only co-production from Mondo TB and the leading Italian weather forecasting centre, Meteo Operations Italia.

Latin America is one of Mondo TV Iberoamerica’s core business areas, a region where it has strong relationships with the main channels, broadcasters and platforms helping it in its aim of spreading the environmental messages central to Earth Day to millions of young viewers across the continent.

A number of broadcasters have already confirmed plans to air the episodes. More are expected to confirm their participation in the coming weeks. Among the confirmed public channels are Señal Colombia; TV Perú and its children’s channel IPe; SER TV (Panama); TVN Chile – via its children’s channel TV Educa Chile, Pakapaka (Argentina); and Canal Once (Mexico). All are broadcasting the shows on the week of the 22nd of April. Canal Once plans a second broadcast on the weekend of 1-2 May on the occasion of the Día del Niño (Children’s Day) in Mexico.

The four episodes will demonstrate the diversity of themes and regions covered by the series – including an episode set in Latin America – as well as underlining the show’s engaging blend of comedy, adventure and environmental themes.

Each MeteoHeroes episode focuses on issues related to ecology and respect for nature through the adventures of six super-powered kids who can control weather phenomena. Working alongside scientists and meteorologists at their futuristic HQ based in Gran Sasso Mountain National Park in Italy, the MeteoHeroes are trained to control their powers and fulfil their mission: to save the Earth.

The special showings will be promoted by both the channels involved and Mondo TV across a wide range of platforms and media.

Dimitri Papanikas, international sales and co-productions manager of Mondo TV Iberoamérica, said: “This is a crucial example of fostering a spirit of hope and global collaboration by supporting channels in their programming on a special day dedicated to the celebration of nature.

“We are thrilled to have such great partners joining us in spreading the positive message from the MeteoHeroes that, working together, we all have the power to save planet Earth.”

Luigi Latini, CEO of the show’s co-producer Italian weather forecasting centre Meteo Operations Italia (MOPI), added: “The 22nd of April is an extremely important day on the environmental calendar. We are delighted that we can make a small contribution to spreading the message about protecting our planet through a show that both educates and entertains.”

Dr Seuss Enterprises lands new eco-friendly partners for The Lorax ahead of Earth Day 2021

Dr. Seuss Enterprises is celebrating Earth Day and the 50th anniversary of its popular title, The Lorax, with the launch of a line-up of sustainable brand partnerships that underscore the book’s core message of environmental activism.

Launched to tie in with Earth Day this year, the range will span new eco-friendly products including pet toys, home decor, publishing, and apparel which will kick off with a collection developed by the sustainable apparel brand, Tentree.

The eco-friendly Lorax collection will consist of hoodies, crewnecks, sweatpants, and t-shirts for adults and children, while inspired by the book’s activism theme will be the newest MantraBand engraved bracelet featuring the famed Lorax quote, Unless Someone Like You Cares A Whole Awful Lot, which is marked as a reminder to use your voice to make change.

Elsewhere, the story of The Lorax will enjoy new entertainment and publishing deals throughout the year, as – adding to a line-up of anniversary partnerships – Random House Children’s Books readies to roll out a robust publishing programme with new The Lorax books printed on recycled paper.

New to the catalogue this year is The Lorax Deluxe Doodle book, which is out now, followed by The Lorax: 50th Anniversary Edition, Dr. Seuss’s Thank You For Being Green And Speaking For The Trees, Let’s Go to the Garden! With Dr. Seuss’ Lorax,with more to come this Spring.

Additionally, through a partnership with Oceanhouse Media, The Lorax comes to life on iPads and iPhones in the digital book edition with playful interactivity, animations and fun activities.

US book retailer, Barnes & Noble has teamed with One Tree Planted for a special campaign in which every copy of The Lorax related titles sold in stores or online over April will see Dr Seuss Enterprises and Random House Children’s Books donate $1 to the cause.

Meanwhile, Dr. Seuss Enterprises is making its mark in an untapped category with BARK, the maker of BarkBox, for a line of sustainable dog toys. Debuting in April for BarkBox subscribers and in Petco stores, pets will be able to play with and chew on Lorax-themed toys, all made with environmentally friendly materials.

As part of its partnership expansion, Aurora, the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of plush toys and gifts, has released a new eco-friendly Lorax plush toy, and Tervis, maker of expressive and sustainable drinkware, has rolled out a Lorax inspired collection of travel tumblers.

The global celebrations continues, meanwhile, as The Lorax hit London in celebration of Earth Day 2021. The Old Vic Theatre is presenting the iconic Dr. Seuss book The Lorax for six live-streamed performances as part of the OLD VIC: IN CAMERA series.  David Greig and Charlie Fink’s Olivier Award-nominated adaptation, directed by the award-winning director Max Webster,  is transformed into a semi-staged pint-size version to keep young (and older) minds entertained.

Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said:The Lorax has always been a beloved Dr. Seuss story and introduces children to why we need to protect our planet through a beautiful story. We are proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the book in 2021 and further encourage our readers to speak out and make change in our world.

“This year we are partnering with a wide range of brands, such as Tentree, BarkBox, and more, to create sustainable products that will continue spreading The Lorax’s message.”

The Lorax, which was first published in 1971, quickly became a cultural phenomenon with an important and hopeful message about our environment. Over the past 50 years, the book has encouraged children to not only speak up for the protection of our trees, but to also use their voice to help make change because “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is  going to get better. It’s not.”

Angry Birds flocks to game-based learning platform Kahoot! to raise environmental awareness

Angry Birds is flocking to the game-based learning platform Kahoot! to launch a series of unique quizzes each aimed at encouraging children and their environmental awareness education. The move is the latest from Rovio to continue its fight for better understanding around climate change and environmental science.

Currently in its pilot test phase, the quizzes will see Red and friends challenge Kahoot! users on subjects like deforestation, biodiversity and carbon footprint, as well as their effects on the earth’s ecosystems.

“We’re thrilled to join forces with Kahoot! to bring an Angry Birds flair to their educational games,” said Stephen Porter, brand director at Rovio Entertainment. “Environmental education and climate change awareness are extremely important and pressing topics for Rovio, and Kahoot!’s massive audience gives us a fantastic opportunity to contribute in these areas.”

Craig Narveson, director of strategic partnerships at Kahoot, added: “We at Kahoot! are passionate about making the world a better place by bringing learning to life with fun and play, so joining forces with Angry Birds to make learning about climate change more engaging is an awesome fit.

“Climate change can be an overwhelming subject, especially for young learners. We’re excited to be working together with Angry Birds to introduce climate science in a fresh and interactive way, which learners of all ages can enjoy whether they’re in the classroom or at home.”

The Kahoot! partnership reinforces Rovio’s support for global education, building on a previous alliance with UNICEF Finland to support UNICEF’s global education work. Rovio was the first partner in the Staff for UNICEF program, an impactful donation model which raises money towards UNICEF’s education program across the world, and also supported adolescent women through UNICEF’s Salmaïtou Senegal Project.

The campaign is also the next step in Rovio’s commitment to green initiatives, which ranges from raising awareness for environmental issues with in-game events to offsetting the impact of players’ devices.

MeteoHeroes grows its international presence with RTVE broadcast deal

MeteoHeroes, the environmentally-themed animated children’s series, is growing its global broadcasting presence, having landed a new slot with the Spanish broadcaster, RTVE.

Under its new partnership with Mondo TV Group, RTVE will air series one of the animated show, the only children’s series to be co-produced by Mondo and the Italian weather forecasting centre, Meteo Operations Italia. RTVE will air the series across a number of its markets, starting with previews in the spring.

The contract covers not only Spain, but also Latin America on Clan Internacional – an international coverage that will play an important role in supporting the licensing and merchandising programme that is currently underway in those areas.

The timing of the agreement will allow Mondo to repeat the successful consumer product strategy adopted in the Italian market in 2020. With Panini Spain already on board for a wide range of products – including sticker lines, sticker albums, magazines and flowpacks – Mondo TV will soon be expanding its licensing programme into many other categories.

A key partner in this expansion will be the toy distributor, which will be announced soon. The arrival of the first MeteoHeroes toys in the market is scheduled for autumn 2021. Play Around, the master toy licensee, has developed a toy line that includes 3D figures, role play items and a playset. The toy line will help kids to identify with the superhero stars in their fight against climate change and pollution.

The first series of MeteoHeroes has already been sold or confirmed into over 120 countries and was among the biggest hit shows on Cartoonito in Italy last autumn.

It is recognised as the only cartoon in the world dedicated entirely to climate and environmental issues. Each episode focuses on issues related to ecology and respect for nature through the adventures of six super-powered kids who can control weather phenomena. Working alongside scientists and meteorologists at their futuristic HQ based in Gran Sasso Mountain National Park in Italy, the MeteoHeroes are trained to control their powers and fulfil their mission: to save the Earth.

Matteo Corradi, CEO of Mondo TV, said: “In a very short time MeteoHeroes has established itself as one of the leading series in our portfolio; in fact a second series is already being planned.

“This agreement with RTVE, a major partner in Spanish-speaking markets worldwide, is a very important development, not only bringing the show to millions of potential viewers in a large number of new markets but also boosting the reach of the ongoing licensing and merchandising campaign.”

DC Thomson partners with Discovery Inc to launch Animal Planet educational children’s magazine

DC Thomson has partnered with Discovery Inc to launch a new educational children’s magazine called Animal Planet. The new title will build on Animal Planet’s goal of creating content with global appeal and to keep alive the childhood joy and wonder of animals.

Animal Planet is a brand already known for combining content that explores the bonds forged between animals and humans, and is currently available on screens around the world in more than 205 countries. Through the new Animal Planet magazine, young animal lovers will be able to find information on exotic animals and natural beauty.

Exclusive to Animal Planet magazine, kids can join the #PlanetWarriors club which offers the chance to review books, complete challenges and send in their content to feature in future issues.

Animal Planet also has an exclusive panel of experts who will answer questions from inquisitive readers. Dr Jess French, Michaela Strachan, Ben Fogle and Ellie Harrison will feature every issue, tackling questions submitted by Animal Planet’s #PlanetWarriors. These experts feature alongside Animal Planet’s beloved family, The Irwins, from the channel’s ‘Crikey! It’s The Irwins’.

The launch coincides with children and young people becoming increasingly more engaged in planet earth, its inhabitants and environmental issues. Aimed at seven to 12 year-olds, the monthly magazine will encourage kids to discover a world of big ideas, get involved and be inspired and informed.

DC Thomson Media is one of the UK’s leading media creators, with a number of diverse and successful children’s brands already part of its stable, such as Beano, Animals and You and The Official Jacqueline Wilson magazine.

Maria Welch, head of magazine publishing at DC Thomson Media, said: “We’re delighted to launch Animal Planet in partnership with Discovery. The content is perfect for kids who have a keen interest in the wonders of our planet and Animal Planet promises to be an educational and fun addition to the kids’ magazine market.

“DC Thomson Media has a long and successful history in children’s magazine publishing and the team behind this brand-new launch have brought all of this passion and expertise to Animal Planet.”

Joshua Hearn, licensing and marketing coordinator at Discovery, Inc., added: “In what has been over a year of collaboration, I am truly excited for the launch of our new Animal Planet Magazine. I look forward to developing the inspiring content you will find inside every issue and for our readers to engage with the visually diverse and factual information included.”

Charlotte Payne, international marketing and strategy director at Discovery, Inc., said: “For me, the collaboration with DC Thomson is going to enable us to bring the Animal Planet brand to life beyond the screen, inspiring children of all ages to experience the wonder and joy of the animal kingdom, all while maintaining sustainability through the magazine’s printing and packaging.”

Environment | “Toy recycling is key to educating children”: Wastebuster’s call to the industry

An underwater photographer turned campaigner, conservationist, and educator on the environmental impact of climate change and pollution on the world’s oceans, Katy Newnham is about to embark on her latest venture to help change the course of history.

Last week, Wastebuster launched its Recycle to Read and Toy Take Back scheme, an initiative that has called on the toy industry to support in the efforts to find better and more sustainable methods of keeping the hard to recycle toy plastics out of landfills and out of the natural ecosystem.

Landing initially as a reward system for schools, the programme aims to engage consumers to recycle toys in selected schools and retailers across the country, and to reward those participating schools and communities with books and reading resources for children.

With toy and publishing firms already signed up to the initiative, Newnham is doubling down on her appeal to an industry to help educate children no environmental issues and taking a lead in the fight for a better, sustainable future.

Here, catches up with Katy Newnham, founder of Wastebuster and the Recycle to Read programme, to learn more about it all.

Hi Katy, thanks for chatting with us. To start, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role with Wastebuster. What is the Wastebuster mission?

I began my career as a commercial underwater photographer but having witnessed the impact of climate change and pollution on the oceans’ ecosystems, I moved into conservation and education. In 2006 I created Wastebuster, becoming the founder and CEO of the not-for-profit environmental education company.

With partners and supporters that have ranged from UN Environment to Pinewood Film Studios and Google, Wastebuster now supports over 20,000 schools, and 30,000 teachers worldwide. Specialising in delivering national and international, cross-sector education and awareness campaigns, designed to promote responsible consumption in primary aged school children.

In 2019, Wastebuster acquired The Pod, an education platform for schools and together they have become one of the largest providers of free education for sustainable development, to children all over the world. Our goal is to harness the power of entertainment to inspire social change.

Can you give us a bit of an overview of the campaigns and initiatives you guys have led and the kind of partners you have worked with?

We work with partners ranging from international corporates, local authorities, NGO’s, Governments and the UN to deliver education and awareness programmes that support development of the circular economy, in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Wastebuster has worked with WRAP since 2008, with the Wastebuster characters fronting the Recycle now Schools programme. For our 2012 Sport into Schools campaign, Wastebuster worked with the 2012 Olympic Committee, LOCOG, to use the increased interest in sport to initiate a UK wide textile recycling campaign that exchanged unwanted textiles for thousands of UK under resourced schools, for new sports equipment.

More recently Wastebuster have delivered circular economy education and school engagement programmes in South Africa and the Middle East, to support the development of new recycling infrastructure for hard to recycle plastics. This led Wastebuster to be instrumental in the formation of EPPIC (Extended Plastics Partnership for Innovation in Circularity) alongside DOW, Marks and Spencer and Ecosurety.

EPPIC is a new nationwide initiative that aims to create the infrastructure and mechanisms for the collection and recycling of ‘hard to recycle’ flexible and hard plastics. By bringing together a critical mass of key stakeholders we can deliver a functioning and profitable recycling system that benefits retailers and brand owners, publishers, recyclers, citizens and most importantly, the environment.

Currently, Wastebuster is leading the workstream on hard to recycle toy plastics, which has led to the formation of the Recycle to Read campaign, in association with Products of Change.

“We feel that toy recycling, is a key to educating children in the importance of recycling and living a more sustainable lifestyle.”

Can you talk us through the latest initiative – the Recycle to Read campaign and the Toy Take Back scheme? Who is this campaign targeting and how?

For the Recycle to Read Campaign, Wastebuster is working with EPPIC and Products of Change to bring together cross-sector stakeholders (toy companies, brand, owners, publishers, government) to develop an efficient, environmental, and sustainable infrastructure for recycling plastic toys, initially in the UK.

Initially, the programme will engage consumers to recycle toys (including electricals and textiles) in selected schools and retailers, and to reward participating schools and communities with books and reading resources to improve children’s literacy.

The Recycle to Read toy recycling programme unlocks the value of collaborative advantage. It provides an industry-wide infrastructure solution for recycling all plastic toys that consumers can engage with easily, whilst unlocking considerable social, economic and environmental benefits for the communities in which it operates.

The programme also provides research and industry insight into toy design for recyclability to support the move towards a more circular future for toy production.

Recycle to Read is more than just a recycling campaign and environmental educational programme, it is a collective impact programme and dynamic research project that provides a solution to a complex issue, through multi-stakeholder collaboration including industry, government, and consumers.

How are you guys now tapping directly into the children’s sector? And why is this such an important sector to tap into?

We feel that toy recycling, is a key to educating children in the importance of recycling and living a more sustainable lifestyle. The Recycle to Read junior board members (made up of six to 11-year-olds) made it very clear to us that they have a unique and emotional bond with their toys and understanding how they can help their toys to be reused or recycled when they are no longer wanted is a huge step in creating positive messaging around the concept of recycling.

Helena Stopher at Products of Change and the Children’s Magazine Forum have been instrumental in introducing us to the children’s sector and so far it’s been hugely rewarding working with such a positive and forward thinking industry.

Why is now the right time for toy companies to be joining this campaign? Why are they so integral to the initiative?

There is no time like now to change the future of the toy industry.

Many companies are already taking this issue seriously, especially in terms of packaging and design. Those who become members of the R2R campaign will be:

  • Helping to ensure the toy industry has a sustainable future and recycling solution
  • Proactively leading change ahead of government legislation
  • Supporting and contributing to new and better intelligence on the recyclability of toys and product design
  • Demonstrating responsibility for their products in the market giving assurance to their consumers
  • Able to utilise resources for the promotion of responsible consumption to your consumers

Acting as a responsible business sector 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.

The Recycle to Read campaign is financed purely by members fees and we are engaging with all brands, retailers, manufacturers, and publishers who market to children, to get behind this scheme in order to create a sustainable future for their businesses.

The programme is run on a “not for profit” basis and all members will have the opportunity to vote on how any potential profit from the value of recycled material is spent – be that more school resources, scaling up the infrastructure or reducing member fees.

What sort of reception have you had to it so far?

The sector is more than ready for this and we have had nothing but support so far.

Over 40 companies and 70 local authorities took part in a special round table webinar in November, to find out more about the campaign and we are delighted that Immediate Media and Smart Games have become founder members and are looking forward to be announcing a host of other members in the New Year.

What are you setting out to achieve, what is the mission statement for the Recycle to Read campaign and why is it more important than ever that the toy industry sits up and takes part?

Our goals are as follows:

  • To provide a new, robust, and economical infrastructure for the collection and recycling of toys, small WEEE and textiles in the UK including schools, retailers, household waste and recycling sites, businesses, community groups and more.
  • To engage, educate and encourage families to reuse and recycle more.
  • To supply industry with the research and science to create more sustainable products.
  • To create greater circularity within the UK toy industry, in a manner that can be replicated in other territories

We are working as a non-profit organisation to help the toy industry to come together to create a solution to its’ sustainability problem and help us to educate children in the importance of recycling. This is not going to happen overnight, we have a five year plan to get the UK to the point where toy recycling can be carried out via local household waste and recycling centres.

It’s a big goal and we can only achieve it if we all work together, for the common good.

How can toy companies get involved in the programme?

Visit our website and sign up to the Webinar on 18th February, where you will be able to find out all you need about the campaign. If you don’t want to wait until then you can contact any of the members of R2R leadership team to discuss the programme in more detail – contact details are also on the website.

We will be working hard to get members fully registered by the end of February, so that we can launch phase one of the Recycle to Read Toy and Tech Take Backs in Schools in the summer term.

We can’t wait to get started!

Wastebuster and Products of Change call on industries to back Recycle to Read and Toy Take Back campaign

The environmental awareness platform, Wastebuster has partnered with Products of Change to bring together a cross-sector of stakeholders to share knowledge, resources, and finance, to develop an efficient, environmental, and sustainable means of recycling plastic toys.

In partnership with EPPIC (Extended Plastics Partnerships for Innovation in Circularity) the programme will operate under the title Recycle to Read and will engage consumers to recycle their toys (including small electricals and textiles) and to reward participating schools and communities with books and reading resources to improve literacy.

The programme aims to provide an industry-wide solution for recycling all plastic toys while providing a platform for consumers to engage with easily. It will look to co-ordinate toy, tech, and textiles ‘Take Back’ collections in retailers, schools, and household recycling centres across the UK.

As it builds it will look to unlock considerable social, economic, and environmental benefits for the communities in which it operates.

The programme also provides research and industry insight into toy design for recyclability, to support the move towards a more circular future for toy production.

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 programme across schools, retail, brand, toy, and publishing partners.

By bringing together a critical mass of cross-sector members, Recycle to Read can deliver a recycling system for toys that benefits its members, society and most importantly, the environment.

Developed by Katy Newnham, founder of Wastebuster, the Recycle to Read campaign and its Toy Take Back initiative is being billed as a ‘dynamic research programme’ and the “start of the creation of a circular and sustainable future for toy production.” The programme will be a multi-stakeholder collaboration that spans industry, government, and consumer networks.

Already 40 companies and 70 local authorities have taken steps to become a part of the programme, having taken part in a special roundtable webinar last month.

“We believe in the power of collective impact,” said Newnham. “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 programme 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.”

Helena Mansell Stopher, director of Products of Change, added: “Products of Change is extremely proud to be working with Katy and her team to bring a fully circular solution to toy recycling in the UK, to be rolled out internationally over the coming years.

“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.”

Among those to have pledged their support to the campaign as founding members is Immediate Media.

“We hope it will bring the whole toy industry together to help create a recycling ecosystem for plastic toys at the end of their useful life and generate a momentum of its own once the word of the scheme spreads,” said Andy Marshall, group managing director of Immediate Media Co.

Peter Rooke, director of Smart Toys and Games, a member of Recycle to Read, added: “Sustainability in toys is so important for the toy industry.

“The single use and giveaway toy world is particularly under threat and is in the sights of regulators so change must come to that aspect of the industry quickly.

“I fully support the circular economy and for toys, one that is restorative and regenerative by design.”

For more details on the campaign (and to sign up to the next webinar), simply click on this link. You can also contact Simon, on to find out how to get involved.

Silvergate Media unveils world’s biggest Octonauts attraction at Sea Life Shanghai

Silvergate Media has released the first images from the launch of the world’s biggest Octonauts attraction at Merlin Entertainment’s Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, part of the Sea Life global aquarium chain.

The new Octonauts experience opened its doors to the public on December 28th and visitor numbers are already expected to surpass 500,000 a year.

The new attraction offers an authentically themed experience that will give families the opportunity to go on a real life Octonauts adventure in a fully submerged Octopod capsule within Merlin Entertainment’s new ‘Ray Bay’ experience at Changfeng Ocean World.

Visitors can join characters including Captain Barnacles, Kwazii and Peso to learn about the world’s oceans and help save baby rays. They will also be able to take home a memento of their day, with a range of Octonauts merchandise available to buy on-site at a dedicated SEA LIFE gift shop.

The new attraction arrives ahead of a new content launch for Octonauts, as new spin-off series Octonauts: Above and Beyond prepares to debut globally this autumn, with new licensing partners soon to be announced. The new Octonauts experience in Shanghai builds on the momentum of previous SEA LIFE partnerships with Merlin Entertainments in the UK, Europe, Australia and the US, with additional new activations due to be announced.

“What better way to bring the brand to life than a fully immersive attraction at a world-class SEA LIFE centre,” said Ron Allen, EVP Commercial Silvergate Media. “This promises to be an exciting year for the brand as we build up to the launch of Octonauts: Above and Beyond and we’re excited that families in China now have the opportunity to step into the world of Octonauts in this unique underwater adventure.”

Matthew Williams, senior brand director midway, Merlin Entertainments, added: “We are delighted to have opened the world’s biggest Octonauts experience at Changfeng Ocean World in the fantastic new Ray Bay area, immersing families in a heroic underwater adventure with their favourite characters from the series.

“Octonauts is an ideal IP for SEA LIFE with fun and discovery at its core, and we look forward to working with Silvergate to share more exciting and innovative themed Octonauts experiences with families at our aquariums around the globe.”