Game changer: LEGO launches sustainable bricks

Game changer: LEGO launches sustainable bricks

LEGO is making waves in the toy industry having just announced it will now be making some of it's pieces from plant-based plastic.

Words Sophie Baird. Photo: LEGO

LEGO is making waves in the toy industry having just announced it will now be making some of it's pieces from plant-based plastic.

Currently, LEGO's small bricks are made from polyethylene, a chemical compound used in plastic manufacturing. More than 80 million tons of polyethylene is used every year, making it the world’s most commonly used plastic.

However, as discussion over plastic's negative impact on the planet reaches an all time high, LEGO has announced it will now join a raft of other global companies seeking more environmentally-friendly solutions in their product manufacturing, by using plant-based polyethylene to produce some of its pieces, including trees, plants and bushes.

In an official statement, Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group, Tim Brooks says the move is a part of the company’s commitment to use sustainable materials in its core products and packaging and to operate with a zero-waste policy by 2030. 

“At the LEGO Group we want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and are working hard to make great play products for children using sustainable materials. We are proud that the first LEGO elements made from sustainably sourced plastic are in production and will be in LEGO boxes this year. This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials,” he says. 

Brooks adds LEGO users will not be able to tell the difference with the new sustainable range as plant-based and conventional polyethylene have the same properties.

As explained on the LEGO website, the plant based polyethylene LEGO is using will be derived from ethanol produced by the sugarcane. The LEGO Group has partnered with WWF to support and build demand for sustainably sourced plastic, and has joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), an initiative of WWF, to secure fully sustainable sourcing of raw material for the bioplastics industry. The plant based plastic used to make the botanical LEGO elements is certified by the Bonsucro Chain of Custody standard for responsibly sourced sugarcane.

Since first entering the toy market in 1949, this is the first time the Danish company has switched to renewable materials to produce their interlocking bricks. The seemingly small change will mean around 400 million bricks will now be made with the plant-based polyethylene every year.

The new bricks will be released later in the year.

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