Thousands of children’s toys damaged in this year’s floods have avoided landfill and instead been recycled and repurposed to build roads and other infrastructure, in what is believed to be a world-first for the $156 billion industry.
Queensland business Mizzie The Kangaroo on Thursday became fully-circular by repurposing more than 2000 of its iconic orange natural rubber teething toys, and launching a new initiative whereby customers can post or return their used products to the business for recycling.
The award-winning products were transported to Pearl Global, a pioneering Australian company committed to solving the global waste tyre problem. The toys were unloaded onto a conveyor belt, where a thermal desorption process transformed them into high-value fuel, carbon, steel and gas, while using almost zero emissions.
Mizzie The Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott said it was a moment she’ll never forget.Mizzie The Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott
“Our teething and educational toys are designed to give our children the best start in life,” she said.
“We’re on a mission now to extend this notion, by ensuring our environmental impact is minimal, giving them a better future.Mizzie The Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott
“We use natural and environmentally-friendly materials, but the fact we can now recycle our trademark products is huge for us and our customers.”Mizzie The Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott
Stock belonging to the Queensland-based business was destroyed in February when water tore through its Brisbane warehouse.
Thousands of its bright orange natural rubber teething toys were covered in mud, rendering them unsuitable for sale.
Mrs Ebbott couldn’t stand the thought of them going to waste, so on top of dealing with the clean-up, she has also spent the past six months trying to find a second use for them.
“The Brisbane Economic Development Agency introduced me to Pearl Global’s co-founder Gary Foster, and I immediately knew it would be the perfect partnership,” she said.Mizzie The Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott
“To know the Mizzies that were damaged in the floods and those no longer needed by our customers won’t go to waste and will in fact play a critical role in our local infrastructure, is pretty special.”Mizzie The Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott
The global toys industry is valued at $156 billion, while the Australian share of the market is said to be worth $586 million.
Mrs Ebbott said with the sector only continuing to grow, it was crucial businesses found a way to reduce their environmental footprint.
“Parents are buying fewer toys for their children and looking out for ones that are sustainably made and packaged, as a way to reduce the amount of waste their family produces,” she said.
“It’s up to all of us to find new and creative ways of doing things.”Mizzie The Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott
Mizzie The Kangaroo recently closed a $268,000 crowdfunding campaign to help it develop a suite of new products and increase its presence overseas.
The launch of its new recycling program will ensure each Mizzie purchased will be able to be returned to the company’s Brisbane headquarters at the end of its lifespan, so it can be repurposed and diverted from landfill.
Mrs Ebbott said she was actively working with her Australian retail partners — which include MYER, Kidstuff and Terry White Chemart — to create other collection points, to make it easier than ever for customers to recycle.
Thursday’s initiative coincides with Australia’s inaugural Green Friday event starting on Friday.
The sustainable alternative to Black Friday, takes place from November 18 to 21.
Pearl Global has processed more than two million tyres, with the materials produced going on to be used in the construction of several roads across Queensland.