Action 327: Check this out – Barbie Loves The Ocean

Barbie Date: 23 November
Action: 327
Cost of taking action: LOW


Written by our guest writer Lynsey Clayton from Monsoon of Random in the UK

Plastic toys abound and bring pollution problems, but Lynsey highlights how one company is responding

“Barbie Loves the Ocean”
Lynsey Clayton, Monsoon of Random

Plastic waste UNsplashThink of all of the plastic toys you owned when you were a child – and perhaps the ones your children may have now. Every single one of those still exists – even the ones that were thrown away.

Even though plastic can be gradually broken down by sunlight, the plastic is still never destroyed; it changes into other forms that can affect the environment. Even when exposed to sunlight and degrading at a high rate, a plastic grocery bag will take 10-100 years, a toothbrush will take over 500 years, sandwich bags could last for up to 1,000 years, a cigarette butt could take a decade and a diaper could stick around for 250 years.

Unfortunately, most of these items end up buried in a landfill, and also get into the ocean, without being exposed to the sun, so they will never decompose, and will remain in place and unchanged indefinitely.

For me, I know I’ve spent a lot of time and effort selling on my toys from the 1980s and 1990s, to ensure that they find a new home rather than ending up as waste. This includes a large number of Barbie dolls.

Plastic waste 2 UNsplashI was therefore very excited to hear that the hugely popular toy manufacturer Barbie has partnered with 4Ocean to create the first Barbie doll collection made from 90% recycled, ocean-bound plastic (defined as plastic parts made from 90% plastic sourced within 50km of waterways in areas lacking formal waste collection systems).

Barbie acknowledge that they need to do more today to provide a world of possibilities and better future for the next generation. On their website, they state that they are working towards Mattel’s goal of 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials in both products and packaging by 2030. They intend to do this in the following ways:

  1. To reach 95% recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper or wood fiber in packaging by 2021 and by 2030 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials.
  2. To achieve 100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials in  product, and more than 75% fibers made of sustainable materials in its fashions, by 2030.
  3. To advocate for the environment using their popular platforms and Barbie as a role model to educate and promote sustainable everyday behaviours.

I think this is a vital and important step for Barbie to show that they are leading the way towards a new future of sustainable toys.


There seems little point to me giving young children plastic toys which will only contribute to a future where the environment is in deeper peril, as they are the ones who will be living through it.

Barbie also offer video guides to help children and families up-cycle, as well as a play-back scheme – you can find more information on their website.

Take action

On the run up to Christmas, consider gifts for children that will influence the way they think about our environment. Check out the Barbie initiative and others that are increasingly available as a result of our changing demands as consumers.

This article has been contributed by our guest writer Lynsey Clayton of Monsoon of Random

Editor’s note: We make efforts to research our articles and believe this to be a positive initiative. Please note that this is NOT a sponsored post. Please check out environmental claims made by any company before buying their products and be aware of the possibility of greenwashing.