New Tool: ProSource
Check out our packaging and processing solutions finder, ProSource.

Hasbro Packaging Phases From Plastic to Efficient

The global toy company plans to eliminate all plastic packaging for new products by the end of 2022 and is introducing two new products that will “bring sustainability to family game night.”

The first fully sustainable board game.
The first fully sustainable board game.

“We're trying to sell toys but we're also trying to genuinely make the world a better place. Hopefully [we'll help] preserve some of the resources that this world has left to offer our kids,” said Hasbro’s Ben Kuchler, Director of Product and Package Sustainability. Kuchler and Jacquie Patterson, Senior Manager of Package Engineering on the sustainability team, presented at Sustainability in Packaging US this week. They talked about the company’s broad sustainability actions over the past decade, as well as their path for the future of hasbro packaging materials.

Hasbro, creator of iconic toys and games such as Nerf, My Little Pony, Transformers, Play-Doh, Monopoly, Baby Alive, and Power Rangers, has also partnered with brands such as Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars. Kuchler said that in 2018, Hasbro became the first toy company to offer a recycling program for US customers. And through a partnership with TerraCycle, Hasbro recycles the “retired” toys back into things like playground equipment, park benches, and flowerpots. The program was expanded to France, Germany, Brazil, and Canada in 2019, the UK in 2020, and “a bunch of other countries are being planned for the years ahead,” said Kuchler.Marketing for Hasbro's recycling program.Marketing for Hasbro's recycling program.

According to Patterson, Hasbro started its sustainability journey over a decade ago. The company eliminated tissue paper in shipping cartons and the polybags that contained instruction sheets. In 2010, paper ties substituted the wire ties that used to hold toys in place in the packaging. In 2013, PET replaced PVC in the packaging, which by 2016 included 40% recycled content. In 2018 Hasbro began switching to bioPET. Said Patterson, “Our journey was working toward making continual improvements to our materials and improving our plastic materials.”

The company has long been working to reduce packaging material and waste in e-commerce packaging and designing packaging specifically for the e-commerce channel. In 2017 Hasbro launched recycle labeling on packaging to help inform North American consumers on how to recycle the product packaging.

Said Kuchler, “Toys have been packaged in PET blisters, or PVC blisters for 50 years now. And so, we created a new filter for ourselves. Wherever we don't physically require plastic in our packaging to deliver it safely to the consumer, whatever that product experience might be, we're trying to eliminate it and phase it out.” To that end, the company is focusing on eliminating poly bags, elastic bands, elastic fasteners, shrink wrap, PET window sheets or blisters. (This initiative focuses on primary packaging, as well as some secondary/tertiary packaging elements.)

Kuchler said Hasbro hopes to provide “a sense of leadership within the packaging industry, or at least within the toy packaging industry, to encourage our partners and our competitors to look and see if they can do better as well.”


Hasbro phased out some plastic packaging in its NERF gun package.Hasbro phased out some plastic packaging in its NERF gun package.NERF Ultra Dorado:  This item had a new dart that the company wanted to showcase. The original packaging displayed the new dart in a blister in the top right corner. But going forward, said Patterson, “what the team is doing is providing a graphic rendering of what that dart looks like enlarged a little bit, to be able to really showcase that…rather than physically showing the product.” The remaining darts which would normally be packaged in a poly bag are now wrapped in tissue paper and located inside the closed portion of the box to eliminate the poly bag.

The minimalist packaging is more sustainable yet attractive.The minimalist packaging is more sustainable yet attractive.

NERF Alpha Strike: With this product Patterson said they were wanting to eliminate the plastic fasteners. A sleeve package contains the NERF gun and eliminates the need for any fasteners. This is done by ‘trapping’ the blaster in certain locations to be able to hold it into the packing.

My Little Pony: This packaging, said Patterson, tends to be big blister cards with an outer blister and a support blister behind. New packaging style removes the need for further elements to hold the toys in place.New packaging style removes the need for further elements to hold the toys in place.Hasbro chose to use photography to highlight the contents, as well as use some paperboard straps to graphically show some accessory pieces while also holding the product in place.

Baby Alive: This line has a lot of large baby dolls that come with a variety of accessories. Instead of support blisters, the middle of the package contains a new plastic-free foil package, with strategic dye cuts to be able to showcase some accessories inside. Paper ties also showcase some of the pieces. Patterson said the added challenge for Baby Alive and some other brands in Hasbro is that some regions around the world require packages for products like this to be more enclosed for their open-air markets, as well as needing to deliver an enclosed package for e-commerce because of the item being at a lower age grade. (For Amazon products that are age graded at three and under, the package must be enclosed.) Hasbro created an enclosed version that solves for both of regional and e-commerce issues by using the same open package, but with a sleeve over it that at retail the consumer can lift and still see what the product is, but the sleeve portrays an image of the product, enabling the consumer to see what is inside. New packaging style removes the need for further elements to hold the toys in place.New packaging style removes the need for further elements to hold the toys in place.Added Kuchler, “Both through consumer testing and then also a lot of other evaluation, we've definitely realized the value of using photography and/or the ability to use photo realistic imagery to convey play pattern.”

New packaging style removes the need for further elements to hold the toys in place.New packaging style removes the need for further elements to hold the toys in place.Mr. Potato Head: This product, which has come in a package with both outer and inner support blisters, is launching later this year in an enclosed box package.


Packaging is plastic free and also uses FSC-certified paper and supports responsible forestry.Packaging is plastic free and also uses FSC-certified paper and supports responsible forestry.HasbroHasbro is quietly launching two new fully sustainable product offerings in plastic-free packages. The first is a Mr. Potato Head made with plant-based plastic instead of plastic from fossil fuels. Said Kuchler, “Mr. Potato Head Goes Green is the same five-inch toy that everybody knows and loves. But this farmer is made with plant-based plastic derived from sugar cane, which is a renewable raw material.” The packaging is plastic free and also uses FSC-certified paper and supports responsible forestry.

Monopoly Go Green launched at Walmart in December 2020 and is the first fully sustainable board game. The package, game board, game guide, money cards, and all paper content is made from 100% recycled paper. The greenhouses and the dice are made of FSC-certified wood from well-managed forests, and the tokens - which are normally in die-cast zinc material - are made with plant-based plastic derived from sugar cane. And finally, the gameplay is designed to educate players to be eco-conscious by rewarding them and encouraging them to ‘green up or clean up’ their properties. The first fully sustainable board game.The first fully sustainable board game.Hasbro

Kuchler expressed that their experience throughout this process has already provided Hasbro packaging benefits. “The learnings from this exercise are paving the way, not only for Monopoly, but the way that we package all of our games in the future. This is a huge milestone for us and it's honestly just a tiny baby step in the beginning of our product sustainability journey.”

Read: Sustainability Still Key to Packaging Post-COVID

Read: Hasbro to use bio-PET in packaging


Test Your Supply Chain Smarts
Take Healthcare Packaging's supply chain quiz to prove your knowledge!
Read More
Test Your Supply Chain Smarts
Discover Our Content Hub
Access Healthcare Packaging's free educational content library!
Read More
Discover Our Content Hub