Thousands of flood-damaged toys belonging to portfolio company Mizzie the Kangaroo have avoided landfill and instead found a new, sustainable home, in what is believed to be world-first for the $156 billion toy industry.
The Brisbane-based business lost more than 12,000 units and $330,000 worth of stock when water tore through its Albion warehouse in February.
More than 2000 of its award-winning rubber teething toys were covered in mud, rendering them unsuitable for sale.
Mizzie the Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott couldn’t stand the thought of them going to waste, so on top of dealing with the clean-up, she has spent the past six months trying to find a second use for them.
The Brisbane Economic Development Agency introduced Mrs Ebbott to Pearl Global, a pioneering Australian company committed to solving the global waste tyre problem.
The toys were transported to Pearl Global’s Gold Coast plant, where they went through its thermal desorption process to transform them into high-value fuel, carbon, steel and gas, while using almost zero emissions.
They will now be used to build Queensland roads and other infrastructure.
Mrs Ebbott said it was the perfect alignment.
“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.
“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 also launched a new recycling program, whereby every Mizzie purchased can now be returned to the company 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 includes Myer, Kidstuff and Terry White Chemart – to create other collection points, to make it easier than ever for customers to recycle.
The global toys industry is valued at $156 billion, with the Australian share 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 recently closed a $268,000 crowdfunding campaign to help it develop a suite of new products and increase its presence overseas.