First sustainable Lego pieces to be sold this year
Lego is to start making some of its pieces from sustainable, plant-based materials, the company has announced.
The toy manufacturer will begin including materials sourced from sugarcane, with an aim to get these parts onto shelves before the end of the year. To begin with, these pieces will include trees, bushes, shrubs and leaves.
“We are proud that the first Lego elements made from sustainably-sourced plastic are in production and will be in Lego boxes this year,” Tim Brooks, the Lego Group’s vice president for environmental responsibility, said in a statement. “This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all Lego bricks using sustainable materials.”
The new “elements” will be made from plant-based polyethylene – made with ethanol extracted from sugar cane. According to Brooks, children and parents “will not notice any difference in the quality or appearance of the new elements”, because the plant-based plastic is just as durable as conventional polyethylene.
The challenge, however, will be finding a suitable, sustainable material for Lego’s iconic bricks. These sturdy pieces currently rely on a very strong, oil-based plastic called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, and have done since 1963.
The company has set a target for zero waste in its operations by 2030, and is also a member of the RE100; a collection of some of the world’s biggest companies that are committed to renewable energy. Lego has also partnered with the WWF as part of its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in manufacturing.
Lego’s shift to plant-based pieces is the latest move by a large company to curb plastic in its products. Earlier this week, UK tea maker PG tips announced it would be removing plastic sealants in its tea bags. Also this week, a shop in Amsterdam opened Europe’s first plastic-free aisle. The Ekoplaza supermarket will stock 700 plastic-free products, with plans to roll our similar aisles across its 74 other branches by the end of the year.
Image credit: Lego