March 2021

Text by ZWL Team

REPLAY Project

The REPLAY pilot project, promoted by Zero Waste Lab and Precious Plastic Portugal with financial support from Novo Banco, is developing the first end-of-life toy collection and sorting network, and their transformation into new toys. A project that also intends to test the creation of a recycling circuit in the municipalities of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, Porto, Cascais, Lisbon and Évora.


Today, most toys are made from a mixture of different materials, making them difficult to recycle in the waste management system - even though most of the plastic and materials they are made from are recyclable. Another problem is the exponential increase in the number of toys with low quality plastic, usually offered as a gift and with little retention of interest. Thus, every year, while 270 million euros in new toys are sold in Portugal, at least 30 million units end up in landfills or are incinerated.


Based on the concepts of the circular economy, the REPLAY project wants to encourage public and political discussion in Portugal about the lack of a recycling solution for so many plastic objects such as toys and, above all, to propose concrete solutions.


The REPLAY pilot project starts with community participation. Portuguese families are challenged to carry out 4 steps at home: toy selection, disassembly, counting and delivery. Disassembled toys and sorted by material may be deposited until May 2021 at the various REPLAY delivery points in the five partner municipalities (Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, Porto, Cascais, Lisbon and Évora). The plastic collected will then be sent to five Precious Plastic Portugal laboratories in the participating cities. Product design students from the School of Arts and Design in Matosinhos and the University of Évora will be challenged to submit proposals for a new toy. Through a contest, the winning proposal will be chosen. From then on, Precious Plastic Portugal laboratories are responsible for producing the new toy.


Precious Plastic is an open-source concept on a global scale that consists of a set of machines that, through various processes, transform plastic into any new object. Portugal is part of this network. Precious Plastic Portugal was launched by OpoLab, based in Porto, which manufactures this set of four machines necessary for plastic transformation and distributes them throughout the country and the world, namely through laboratories in the 5 municipalities that are part of the REPLAY pilot project.


The rest of the plastic will be sent to the company Extruplás, which will transform it into a new piece for playgrounds, ensuring that it promotes the exchange of good quality toys among local families. Electronic components and batteries will be sent to the Electrão. The remaining materials - such as metal, rubber, cardboard and fabric, will be sent to the different national and local recycling streams, or upcycling opportunities.


Behind the development of the REPLAY network, there is also the ambition to collect the first qualitative and quantitative data on toys and their materials, in order to assess the feasibility of implementing a new extended producer responsibility (RAP) regime, applicable to the universe. of toys in Portugal. In addition to the specific theme of waste, the REPLAY project also intends to open up new opportunities to rethink the universe of toys and play, which currently raises multiple environmental, public health and child development problems. Throughout this year, cycles of conversations will be organized to sensitize and train citizens on topics still little debated in the public sphere, such as the toxicity of toys or the dangers of children's marketing, among other important topics.


Explore the project's dedicated WEBSITE, follow the instructions in the TOYS GUIDE (GUIA DE BRINQUEDOS), and follow the project's  INSTAGRAM.