The LEGO® Group has unveiled their latest sustainability initiative in the form of a prototype brick from recycled plastics. This is the company’s first step in finding a production method for standard bricks sourced from sustainable materials. It’s not a simple feat however as LEGO® bricks have a lot of boxes to tick before landing in our hands (and under our feet!) The new prototype, which uses PET plastic from discarded bottles, is the first brick made from a recycled material to meet the company’s strict quality, play and safety requirements. After testing over 250 variations and formulas of plastics, the result is a prototype that meets some strict standards – especially the all-critical clutch power.
Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group, Tim Brooks said: “We are super excited about this breakthrough. The biggest challenge on our sustainability journey is rethinking and innovating new materials that are as durable, strong and high quality as our existing bricks – and fit with LEGO elements made over the past 60 years. With this prototype we’re able to showcase the progress we’re making.”
Fun Fact: On average, a one-litre plastic PET bottle provides enough raw material for ten 2 x 4 LEGO® bricks.
For Future Generations
There’s no denying the importance of sustainability in all manufacturing. Green initiatives are no longer seen as ‘trends’ or ‘fads’ – quite the opposite in fact. People are placing higher and higher demands on companies to think proactively and reduce negative environmental impacts. As a leading global brand, the LEGO® Group is looking to lead by example – particularly for the next generation of young builders.
“We know kids care about the environment and want us to make our products more sustainable. Even though it will be a while before they will be able to play with bricks made from recycled plastic, we want to let kids know we’re working on it and bring them along on the journey with us. Experimentation and failing is an important part of learning and innovation. Just as kids build, unbuild and rebuild with LEGO bricks at home, we’re doing the same in our lab.”Tim Brooks, Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group
Journey Towards More Sustainable Products
The LEGO® Group has been making quite a few strides towards sustainable production in recent years. One of the first such initiatives was 2018’s Sustainable Elements (40320) accessory set of plant parts. These parts are created from a sustainably sourced sugarcane (bio-PE) which is great for smaller, softer pieces like trees, branches, etc. In 2020 the company announced a commitment to removing single-use plastics from its boxes. Numbered plastic bags are a staple of LEGO® sets and represent the bulk of packaging waste. Recyclable paper bags are a smart, visible solution that just makes sense as a next-step.
Rebuild the World
“We’re committed to playing our part in building a sustainable future for generations of children. We want our products to have a positive impact on the planet, not just with the play they inspire, but also with the materials we use. We still have a long way to go on our journey but are pleased with the progress we’re making.”Tim Brooks, Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group
The LEGO® Group’s focus on sustainable material innovation is just one of several different initiatives the company has in place to make a lasting impact. The LEGO® Group will invest up to US $400 million over three years to 2022 to accelerate its sustainability ambitions.
It will be some time before bricks made from a recycled material appear on shelves however. The team will continue testing, retesting and developing new formulas until they are ready to move to the pilot production phase. This next phase of testing is expected to take at least a year. For more information on how the LEGO Group wants to rebuild the world for the better, visit: LEGO.com/Sustainability
To find out how the LEGO® Group turns recycled plastic bottles into LEGO® bricks, visit: LEGO.com/AboutUs/Sustainability/RecycledMaterials/
What do you think of The LEGO® Group’s latest sustainability efforts? Comment below and as always, keep on brickin’
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