When I first saw the press release about a “green” Mattel collection of accessories called Barbie BCause, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. Apparently not. Mattel’s new “playful and on-trend” collection of hats and bags for young girls will be released “just in time to celebrate Earth Day in style.” Which is pretty ironic, really, given that Barbie dolls themselves are made out of plastic and are packaged in even more plastic. And not the kind of plastic you can throw in the recycling bin, either.
Thankfully, the limited edition Barbie BCause assortment of accessories doesn’t include a real doll. What it does include are brightly-colored, patch-work style bags, backpacks, pillows and totes. All the items are made out of “excess fabric and trimmings from other Barbie doll fashions and products which would otherwise be discarded,” says Mattel’s press release.
While I’m all in favor of teaching young girls the values of being green, I’m not so sure Mattel’s new doll really offers “eco-conscious girls a way to make an environmentally-friendly fashion statement.” It feels more like they found a way to make money off of scrap fabric than genuinely created a collection aimed at reducing their environmental impact. If Mattel really wants to be green, why not reduce the ridiculous amount of packaging they use for displaying their dolls? Why not only sell the collection at eco-conscious retailers instead of exclusively at Toys “R” Us? Oh right, because it’s Barbie.