A Sustainable Australian Success Story. Introducing Resoftables and Recyclings by Headstart

In a world which is now innately focused on sustainability, navigating how to approach this within a business requires great consideration. Pushing the idea of sustainability is one thing (and it looks good on paper), but an entirely different thing is to actually change your business model, products, materials and processes to become more sustainable. Every year the world produces over 275 million tonnes of plastic waste and that’s the same weight as 55 million elephants. Now more than ever, it’s important to recycle plastic and use recycled plastics where possible.

Australian toy company, Headstart, is a great example of a business which is passionate about sustainability and have introduced products that are produced sustainably, through the use of plastic bottles and bottle caps. Headstart first launched Resoftables a few years ago (2020), and have more recently introduced Recyclings to their range of products. The Resoftables products are made using recycled plastic bottles and the Recyclings products from bottle caps.

Speaking to Andrew Hendy (CEO at Headstart) about how the idea for these products came to be, he says that “a few years ago I noticed that the jacket I was wearing was made from recycled materials — I realised that if they can make clothing from recycled materials, it must also be possible with plush toys.”

Andrew Hendy

Since then, Headstart have successfully launched their Resoftables range of products into Australia, USA, Germany, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Korea, Philippines, UAE and Nordics, with Argentina and South Africa soon to follow. The Recyclings range of products have, so far, been launched into Australia, USA, Canada, UK, Israel, Nordics, Singapore and UAE, with New Zealand and South Africa soon to follow.

We asked Andrew about what has been achieved so far with these products, and it is clear that the efforts that have been made are making a great impact and much has been accomplished; “our relatively little Australian toy company has repurposed 10 million plastic bottles in two years since launching Resoftables and well over 30 million bottle caps will have been repurposed by the end of the year (2022) through our Recyclings products.”

Andrew Hendy

Resoftables are super soft plush toys made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste going to landfill. Every product in the Resoftables range is also GRS-certified (Global Recycled Standard).

“It didn’t happen overnight, but we invested heavily to bring Resoftables to market as quickly as we could — we knew that retailers and consumers were 100% keen to support this initiative — and we were right, the growth has been fantastic and the love for Resoftables is really strong.”

Andrew Hendy

The Resoftables range includes many styles of plush characters in all different sizes — from 6 inch mini plush with recycled plastic bag clips, to jumbo 60 inch plush (each one made from 239 recycled plastic bottles!). There are also many licensed versions available, including Disney, Sesame Street, Care Bears, Cocomelon and more.

Recyclings are collectible figurines and pencil toppers made from 70% recycled plastic — each one repurposes 7 recycled plastic bottle caps. All Recyclings packaging is either recyclable, made from recycled materials, or designed to be part of the play pattern.

Speaking about the development of Recyclings, Andrew says, “Recyclings (and our other recycled hardlines — Rebuildables & Replayables) took a bit longer to develop, as they’re made from recycled bottle caps (which are PP, versus the actual bottle — PET — used in Resoftables) — and it was just a slightly more complicated production process.”

Andrew Hendy

The Recyclings range includes single packs and multipacks of collectibles, as well as a new doll range — ‘The Recyclies’ and a vehicle playset ‘The Trashtastic Recycling Truck’, with plush soon to follow.

It is amazing to see the progress that Headstart have made in a short space of time. They are already expanding the offering with Rebuildables & Replayables, and it will be even more interesting to see what else they can develop and introduce to their sustainable range in the coming years!

I asked Andrew about the journey so far and he explained, “it hasn’t been easy getting here, it’s still not easy pushing forward, but we will not stop. Our goal is to repurpose 100 million bottles so we are only 10% of the way there!”

Andrew Hendy


This article originally appeared in Edition 2 of The Toy Universe Magazine




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