Sep 2, 2019
The iconic toymaker isn’t pretending when it comes to sustainability, Hasbro’s SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility says, though to accomplish these shared goals, workers must take safety leadership training just as seriously. In truth, the world has a plastic predicament, with debris spilling from rivers into the world’s seas to the multiple forms of the sheer refuse that settle in landfills.
According to the EPA, Americans generated about 14.7 million tons of plastic containers and packaging garbage in 2015 alone, which estimated 5.5% of all city solid waste. The percentage recycled improved from 9% in 2000 to 14.6% in 2015, but more than two-thirds nevertheless ended up in landfills. For the last six years, industry-leading toymaker Hasbro has endeavored to lessen the environmental influence its plastic packaging has had. In 2013 the Providence-based company known for producing Mr. Potato Head and Transformers changed from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which release possibly deadly dioxins, to the more readily recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Three years after making the switch, the move was made to post-consumer recycled (rPET) and just last year, Hasbro began using bioPET, which is created with plant-based substances. Now, after all that emphasis, and anticipated supply chain shifting, equipment changeouts, and countless hours of engineering and safety training, they’re abandoning the whole program for an even more daring move. “We’re going to be phasing out plastics altogether in our packaging, beginning next year,” says Kathrin Belliveau, Hasbro senior vice president government, regulatory matters, and CSR. “Even though we made our packaging really sustainable and completely recyclable, in reading the news and testing with consumers, recycling doesn’t always happen,” Belliveau says. Based on their culture and principle “to avoid using unnecessary material” and “reduce environmental impact” in packaging, eliminating plastic all together appeared to be the most sensible response. By 2022, the organization intends to eliminate everything from the shrink-wrap encasing Monopoly and Operation game boxes to the polybags within that are holding the game parts, along with the blister packets holding Avengers and Transformers action figures and thin plastic window coverings on Super Soaker cases. This will only affect brand-new goods, not the ones currently on counters. Two out of every three Hasbro products are new, so the effects should be noticeable quite immediately. “We have a very talented team of packaging engineers and designers who are exploring a variety of options for each type of product we create,” Belliveau says. “We look forward to sharing more details, including mockups, in the coming months and years as we continue on our journey.” The movement is part of a wider strategy Hasbro been achieving for the last 10 years, Belliveau says. Those marching orders can be summed up as “Leave the world a better place for children and their families” and “doing the right thing,” she says. That’s the safety leadership legacy Belliveau says the founding Hassenfeld Brothers left behind, and it’s as rooted in the safety culture as child-like imagination. “Sustainability is one of our core values,” Belliveau says. “Doing good to do well is really who we are and everyone we hire has that mindset. Getting people to buy into our values is very easy for us.”
John Hitch | Sep 02, 2019 - It’s pretty apparent the world has a plastic problem, from the 2.6 million tons of plastic debris flowing from rivers into the world’s oceans to the various forms of the transparent refuse that end up in landfills. According to the EPA, Americans created about 14.7 million tons of plastic containers and packaging waste in 2015 alone, which accounted for 5.5% of all municipal solid waste (MSW). The percentage recycled increased from 9% in 2000 to 14.6% in 2015, but more than two-thirds still ended up in landfills.
For the last six years, leading toymaker Hasbro has attempted to mitigate the environmental impact its plastic packaging has had. In 2013 the Providence-based company known for manufacturing Mr. Potato Head and Transformers switched from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which release potentially dangerous dioxins, to the more easily recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Three years later the move was made to post-consumer recycled (rPET) and just last year, Hasbro started using bioPET, which is made with plant-based materials.