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POC walks the talk at Autumn Fair and Tesco

Ears pricked for Products Of Change’s advice and Recycle To Read campaign


Products Of Change, the sustainability membership hub which has several greeting card companies as members, has certainly made some good ground in the past week.

Not only did it take centre stage at Autumn Fair, to educate, engage and inspire greeting card publishers and gift retailers all about the imminent legal sustainable requirements regarding packaging, but it also landed an incredible consumer products initiative with Tesco as part of its collaboration with Wastebusters’ Recycle To Read project.

Above: Helena with POC’s packaging ambassador Mike Swain and James George, ambassador for the circular economy, at Autumn Fair on Tuesday
Above: Helena with POC’s packaging ambassador Mike Swain (left) and James George, ambassador for the circular economy, at Autumn Fair on Tuesday

Products Of Change’s founder and ceo Helena Mansell-Stopher was tasked to bring actionable change to Autumn Fair’s Power Of One campaign, with two sustainability-focused sessions on the Inspiring Retail Stage & Moda Catwalk educating visitors by highlighting small daily actions and opening the conversation on systemic business transformation.

Using POC’s comprehensive Pathway To Sustainability white papers that were launched earlier this year, visitors at the show were able to access bite-size sections of the papers and scan a QR code to download the full papers from the Products Of Change Hub.

And, coinciding with Autumn Fair this week, POC joined forces with Wastebusters to launch its Recycle To Read trial with Tesco, allowing kids to swap old toys for books.

POC has been central to developing the partnership between the UK’s biggest supermarket group and toy manufacturer Hasbro with leading not-for-profit environmental education company Wastebusters to encourage families to recycle broken hard-plastic toys.

Running until 4 December, the scheme is starting with recycling bins in 19 stores across the Sussex area before being rolled out nationwide if it proves popular with customers – more information can be seen in the video below.

“Three years in the making and we have finally launched the Recycle To Read trial at Tesco,” said Helena. “Swap your toys, drop them in to a charity shop or recycle them at Tesco, all to get Planet Care Points. Connect your points to your local school in the trial area to get free books – yep, your waste has a value!”

Wastebusters’ founder Katie Newnham added: “What better way can we inspire and empower children to make pro-environmental choices than by storytelling with their favourite characters and giving them an opportunity to send their unwanted toys on a new adventure that’s good for the planet?”

Families are being encouraged to rehome toys through charitable giving to friends, family, school toy sales or local charities. Broken toys can be recycled in store where they are collected, cleaned, and turned into plastic pellets, before being used to create new items including coat hangers, chairs, and coffee machines.

Above & top: The Wastebusters team launch Recycle To Read at Tesco
Above & top: The Wastebusters team launch Recycle To Read at Tesco

Rehomed and recycled plastic toys can be registered via the Wastebuster website to earn Planet Care Points for any schools attended by children from 2-11 years old in the trial Sussex area. Eligible schools can register for free to earn points for books at

The Recycle To Read scheme will then reward the 50 highest point-scoring schools in the area with book vouchers from a prize fund of £5,000 to spend on a wide range of discounted books by children’s publishing house HarperCollins. Participating schools can also win book bundles provided by Farshore and Ladybird in a weekly prize draw.

Ally Rose, Tesco category director for toys, said: “We are always looking for new ways to remove, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic in our business, so we’re delighted to be able to support the Recycle To Read campaign as a way to help our customers to more of this at home.

“As well as trialling a new way we can work together on hard-to-recycle plastics, it also helps to give children greater access to reading.”

Above: Wastebusters’ mascot Buster on his visit to Tesco
Above: Wastebusters’ mascot Buster on his visit to Tesco

Helena, who works closely with Max Publishing, owners of Progressive Greetings and PG Buzz, added: “The Recycle To Read platform is the result of the tireless work of an industry coming together with cross-sector stakeholders around the need to find a more sustainable solution for unwanted or broken toys.

“After so many years in the making, it’s amazing to see the campaign come to life through this Hasbro and Tesco partnership. This is a hugely exciting moment that I believe represents a turning point for circularity in toys, and a wonderful example of what can be achieved when industry comes together in the pursuit of sustainability.”

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