Lego is investing in developing an alternative to plastic and pledged to make their 60 billion pieces per year with sustainable materials by 2030.
Building children’s future one brick at a time
Who didn’t grow up building their own fantasy world? Lego is great for stimulating creativity, but it has one major draw-back… its plastic is made with petroleum, which damages the environment. In 2015 Danish toy building-block manufacturers, Lego, announced a $150M investment in developing a biobased alternative and pledged to make all their 60 billion pieces per year with sustainable materials by 2030.
The new greener blocks are technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic
The first Lego pieces to be made entirely from plant-based plastic sourced from sugar cane will go on sale this year, the 85-year-old Danish toy manufacturer has announced. The company said production has already begun on a range of Lego ‘botanical elements’; pieces such as leaves, bushes and trees, made entirely from plant-based plastic. They will start appearing in Lego box sets with bricks and with mini-figures later this year.
This latest move comes as part of Lego’s ongoing commitment to use more sustainable materials in its core products – including the famous bricks – and packaging by 2030. The aim is to find sustainable sources to replace its current fossil fuel-based raw materials, as plastic can also be made from sustainable or bio-based raw materials.
The new sustainable LEGO elements are made from polyethylene, which is a soft, durable and flexible plastic, and while they are based on sugar-cane material, they are technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic. Furthermore, as a bio-plastic it can be recycled many times, though it is unlikely to be 100% biodegradable.
The LEGO Group had dedicated 1 billion DKK (€150 million) and set up the LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre to find and implement new sustainable alternatives to current raw materials. More than 100 employees are expected to be recruited predominantly in the LEGO Group headquarters in Billund Denmark, to work on the task in the coming years.
LEGO Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen’s comments on the announcement: “Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. We believe that our main contribution to this is through the creative play experiences we provide to children.”
Kristiansen continued, “The investment announced is a testament to our continued ambition to leave a positive impact on the planet, which future generations will inherit. It is certainly in line with the mission of the LEGO Group and in line with the motto of my grandfather and founder of the LEGO Group, Ole Kirk Kristiansen: Only the best is good enough”.
Below: Tim Brooks, LEGO Vice President of Environmental Responsibility, speaks about the company’s commitment to a greener more sustainable future.