The Warehouse will pilot a toy recycling initiative in 22 stores nationwide during Mega Toy Month.
Toys that have reached the end of their lives including plastic trucks, metal cars, cuddly animals, Barbies and even some electronic toys will be given a new life as things like playground surfacing, picnic tables, benches, musical instruments and watering cans thanks to a new toy recycling initiative being launched by The Warehouse during its annual Mega Toy Month.
The Warehouse is partnering with innovative recycling company TerraCycle, which has run the programme with an Australian retailer and collected more than 18 tonnes of old toys in a year.
In New Zealand, the recycling initiative will be piloted at 22 The Warehouse stores nationwide, from Whangarei to Invercargill during Mega Toy Month, which runs from 29 June to 26 July. Kiwis can start dropping off their toys from Friday 1 July.
Lonnica Van Engelen, The Warehouse Toy Lead, says the initiative is another exciting step in the retailer’s sustainability journey.
“We’re exploring ways we can offer full circularity for the toys we sell, and as we’ve seen across the Tasman, there has been huge demand for the programme. This is a great opportunity for Kiwis to recycle toys that are broken and can’t be passed on or given away to others and know they’re going to be recycled and turned into something useful.
“Instead of collecting dust in the garage or being thrown into landfill, we’re inviting families to bring their old toys into our participating stores so they can have the next stage of their lives as things like a watering can. We’re piloting this approach and if this trial is successful, we hope to extend it throughout our entire store network,” says Van Engelen.
Each of the 22 stores will have a large colourful recycling box in store in which customers can drop off their pre-loved toys. When full, the toys will be taken to the Return Centre and sent on to TerraCycle ANZ.
Jean Bailliard, General Manager of TerraCycle ANZ, explained the significance of the trial.
“It’s fantastic to be working with The Warehouse on the first in store toy recycling pilot to accept any brand of toy in New Zealand. As a waste stream, toys are extremely difficult to recycle and are frequently not accepted in kerbside recycling because they are made of a complex mix of materials including metals, plastics, and textiles. However, they can be recycled through TerraCycle and given new life as watering cans, garden benches, or even incorporated into new playground sets and musical instruments to name a few.”
Plastic, metal, plush and electronic toy brands will be accepted but any batteries will need to be removed. The programme doesn’t cover books, board games, wooden toys, PlayDoh, paint, slime, pens, pencils, crayons or paintbrushes, and oversized toys such as bikes, scooters, skateboards or sports toys.