LEGO is finding sustainable alternatives to plastic for their blocks

The company plans to spend $1 billion to replace the plastic in their products with a sustainable material by 2030.
The LEGO Group has just established a new LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre in Denmark, dedicated to research, development and implementation of new, sustainable, raw materials to manufacture LEGO elements and packaging materials. They will invest 1 billion DKK and expects to recruit more than 100 specialists as part of a major step towards achieving the group’s 2030 ambition on sustainable materials.

LEGOs have been made with a strong plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene since 1963. They use more than 6,000 tons of plastic annually to manufacture their products. In 2014 more than 60 billion LEGO elements were made. Changing the raw material could have a significant effect on LEGO’s carbon footprint, considering only 10 percent of the carbon emissions come from its factories. The rest is produced from the extraction and refinement of raw materials, as well as distribution to stores around the world.

The company has already taken several steps to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes reducing packaging size, introducing FSC certified packaging, investment in an offshore wind farm, factories that reduce energy and water consumption, and just last year, ending its 50 years partnership with Shell. The focus now is on materials. What sustainable material this will be however, remains to be seen. With no common definition for sustainable materials, and no technical standards or guidelines, the LEGO Group believes “that this new sustainable material must have an ever-lighter footprint than the material it replaces.”

“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. The investment announced is a testament to our continued ambition to leave a positive impact on the planet, which future generations will inherit.” LEGO Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen comments on the announcement.

1. LEGO Group to invest 1 billion DKK boosting search for sustainable materials, LEGO
2. Lego plans to make their iconic plastic blocks… without plastic, TreeHugger
3. Creating the Bricks Goes Behind the Scenes of Modeling The LEGO Movie, SolidSmack

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