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Are Barbies Recyclable? (Best Ways To Do It)

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Barbie dolls are made to last for a long time as their durable plastic material helps them not break down even after years of use so that children can enjoy them longer.

Their durability also makes them great dolls to collect as they are able to retain their quality and looks and make the collections vibrant.

The durability of Barbie dolls is owing to the plastic materials they are made of since their main component is polyvinyl chloride, more popularly known as PVC.

But despite their long lives Barbies are bound to get damaged or destroyed sometimes, so if that happens are you able to recycle them? 

Despite the fact that Barbies are made of plastic they are not recyclable because of their hair. You should only recycle things that are made of a single material so the hair makes a Barbie have two different types of material. 

If you want to recycle your Barbies, it can be done but it requires you removing the hair from your Barbie first. The easiest way to do that is to simply remove the Barbie doll’s head and throw it away while recycling the rest of the body (since it’s only made of one material). 

PVC (what Barbies are made of) can be recycled and is durable enough to retain its shape, structure, and quality for many years. Hence, Barbie dolls are recyclable but only if you remove the hair/ head and dispose of it in the normal trash. 

However, if your Barbies aren’t horrible damaged there is likely a much easier way to recycle your old Barbies that are laying around.

Give them away! 

There are many young children who don’t have any dolls and would absolutely love to get them (even if they aren’t in perfect condition). Giving something to someone who will use it for years to come is truly the best way to recycle your old Barbie dolls. 

3 Different Ways to Recycle Your Old Barbie Dolls

Barbie dolls are made to last, but in the case of kids, they will grow older and eventually become less interested in playing with Barbies.  

If your younger children have grown up, chances are, you have a bunch of different Barbie dolls laying around your home, yard, or storage unit, forgotten and no longer played with.

However, it can be hard sometimes to throw them away — which explains why you’re still holding on to them. Barbies can have sentimental value and can carry a lot of childhood memories as well. 

Not to mention that throwing them in the trash can harm the environment since so many Barbies and other plastic toys end up clogging  up landfills for the next century (how long PVC takes to decompose) 

So instead of disposing of your old Barbies in the trash, there are other things you can do to recycle or revamp them.

Do take note that DIY recycling methods that have to do with chemicals can be dangerous. This is especially true for Barbies because of their PVC composition.

It’s highly advised that you do not try to unmold and remold your Barbies or to work with chemicals or heat-based methods.

It’s best to work with professionals if you want to recycle your Barbies in this manner.

Aside from chemical-based recycling methods, you can also try these other routes that I will cover below. 

Send Them Back to the Manufacturer

Manufacturers saw the pain of parents trying to figure out how to dispose of or recycle their old dolls, including Barbies.

So many manufacturers, including Hasbro and Mattel, have come up with ways to help people recycle their Barbie dolls.

These companies often hold toy recycling programs where people ship their old toys back to the company’s warehouse and leave the recycling to the manufacturers!

What they usually do is recycle the toys, reuse the materials, or if the Barbies are still in good enough condition  for use, repackage them to donate to organizations and orphanages so that other children can enjoy them as well. 

If you want to send your Barbies back to the manufacturer’s warehouse, all you have to do is to sign up through their website, pack the toys in a box, print out the label, and ship it out.

Some companies even cover the cost of shipping the dolls back to them.

So, before you do this, make sure to read through the terms and conditions on the manufacturer’s site. 

While Barbie manufacturers often have programs to help you donate your old Barbies, you can always do it yourself.

Find your old Barbie dolls that are still in good shape, put them in a box, and donate them to a child-centered organization. Some places you can look into donating are:

  • Goodwill
  • Children’s shelters
  • Children’s hospitals
  • Orphanages
  • Churches
  • Directly to needy families

You can also give your Barbies away to your neighbors, friends, or loved ones. Anywhere you look, there will be a child out there who would love to inherit your old Barbies.

Give Barbie a New Look

Children have the tendency to get tired of their toys. This is especially true with Barbies, as little girls are always looking for new looks and new outfits.

If your child is starting to lose interest in their Barbie dolls, maybe a new look will re-spark their interest.

One bold way to give Barbie a new look is by changing her hair color. Get some colored neon fabric markers with your child’s favorite shades.

Find a plate and then put Barbie’s hair over it. Brush the hair out and clip some sections so that you can work with small parts at a time.

Take your markers and start coloring. You can also use as many colors as you want. When done, brush the colored hair straight and unclip it. Move on to the other sections and repeat the process.

After the fabric markers dry, your old Barbies will have a whole new modern look that many kids will surely love.

You can also give Barbie a haircut! There’s nothing more refreshing than a new hairdo! Here’s how:

  • Brush the Barbie’s hair and put it in a ponytail. Position the elastic band where you want to start cutting.
  • Take your scissors and cut below the band carefully.
  • Take the elastic off and straighten the cut. To make it easier, you can cut at a diagonal angle.
  • Brush the Barbies hair and you’re all set! Your old Barbie now has a whole new look.

If you don’t want to be too bold with giving your old Barbie a new look, you can always just change her appearance with some new clothes.

Toy stores and retailers sell thousands of different outfits for Barbies. Find one that your kids will love, or better yet, take them to the toy store and ask them to choose.

If you’re not keen on spending money on some new Barbie clothes, you can always DIY them! 

There are a lot of tutorials online that teach you how to make clothes for your Barbie dolls. 

You can even use everyday household items or some recycled fabric to create new outfits for your old Barbie dolls. 

This is also a great way to bond with your children while making the Barbie clothes together. 


Recycling your Barbies is much better than throwing them in the trash as that will just end up clogging landfills and harming the environment.

Barbie dolls are made of durable and recyclable plastic but they should not be thrown in the recycle bin without removing the Barbie’s head/hair. 

Although this is the case, you shouldn’t be playing with chemicals or heat to try to recycle the plastic composition of your Barbie by yourself. 

The best option is  to try out some other recycling methods that are more about using the Barbies in a different way or giving them to someone else to love. 

Donating your old Barbies is a much better option than throwing them in the recycle bin as that way they can be used and loved for many years to come. 

Matthew R

Hi, My name is Matt and I am all about toys! When trying to find accurate information online about toys I was finding it difficult so I decided to make this site.

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