Barbie’s “Fashionista” line options dolls in 22 totally different pores and skin tones, 94 hair colours, 13 eye colours, and 5 physique sorts, in addition to ones with wheelchairs and prosthetic legs. Regardless of the selection, which has been credited with Mattel promoting extra Barbies in 2020 than any time in the past 20 years, all of them have one factor in frequent: They’re made of virgin plastic.
Now Mattel is beginning to change that with a brand new assortment known as “Barbie Loves the Ocean.” The road of dolls is made with plastic that may’ve ended up in the ocean if it hadn’t been recycled. The Barbies use recycled plastic flakes Mattel is sourcing from U.S.-based firm Envision Plastics, which is in flip sourcing uncooked supplies from native assortment factors in the coastal area of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, as a way to get better plastic earlier than it even enters the ocean.
Stocked in shops and on-line, it contains three totally different dolls, three beach-themed play units, and a doll and play set combo. Costs range, however are corresponding to Barbies made of virgin plastic. It additionally features a partnership with the ocean cleanup group 4ocean on a limited-edition, $20 4ocean x Barbie bracelet made with post-consumer recycled supplies. For each bracelet bought, 4ocean will pull one pound of trash from oceans, rivers, and coastlines. And it’s all being hyped by a brand new advert marketing campaign known as “The Future of Inexperienced is Pink,” created with company BBH Los Angeles, which depicts the materials shift as the iconic doll’s newest makeover.
This transfer is an element of a sluggish shift in the toy business away from virgin plastic. Lego is changing its clear plastic baggage with recycled paper, with an goal to make all its packaging from renewable or recycled supplies by 2025. It’s additionally working to develop bio-based bricks (although it has struggled to take action). In March, Hasbro announced it will be phasing out plastic packaging by the finish of subsequent 12 months. And in 2019, Mattel pledged to make use of 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic supplies by 2030. Based on a Mattel spokesperson, the firm has launched Fisher-Value and Mega Bloks units made from bio-based plastics, and the first totally recyclable Uno deck with out cellophane packing supplies. In April, the firm unveiled Mattel PlayBack, a brand new toy take-back program to get better and reuse supplies from previous Mattel toys, together with Barbie, to make use of in manufacturing future Mattel merchandise.
Barbie Loves the Ocean is the model’s newest effort to place Barbie as a task mannequin. “To point out the subsequent technology they are often something, we should do our half in defending the planet,” says Lisa McKnight, world head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel.
The advertising push behind the new Barbie line additionally contains content material like the well-liked Barbie vlogs (which gained widespread consideration final October for its episode on racial allyship), with a brand new episode round how children might be extra environmentally pleasant of their each day habits.
The gathering has vital symbolic worth. In spite of everything, Barbie is an iconic toy that introduced in additional than $1.3 billion in gross sales final 12 months. However as a approach to cut back the model’s environmental footprint, it barely makes a dent. It’s one assortment amid at the very least 10 different collections that are nonetheless made with virgin plastic. At finest, it’s a small step towards—as McKnight put it—the Barbie model doing its half to guard the planet.