LEGO Is Experimenting With New Bricks Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles

Published 3 years ago

With tons of plastic waste being created every day, plastic pollution has never been more prevalent than it is today. This prompted many companies to try and reduce that waste by introducing sustainable packaging or other eco-friendly alternatives – and one of the latest ones to join the cause was LEGO.

Back in late June, LEGO unveiled its first prototype brick created from recycled plastic bottles as a step towards making the company’s products more sustainable. A team of over 150 people spent the last three years testing out over 250 variations of PET materials and other plastics to produce bricks that meet all of the required quality, safety and play requirements.

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Recently, LEGO unveiled its first prototype brick created from recycled plastic bottles

Image source: LEGO

Tim Brooks, Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group, said that the company is 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,” said the man. “With this prototype we’re able to showcase the progress we’re making.”

It took a team of over 150 people three years to produce bricks that meet all of the required quality, safety and play requirements

Image source: LEGO

As exciting as all of this may sound, the new bricks aren’t quite ready for mass production yet, and LEGO says that the next phase of testing will take at least a year.

Image source: LEGO

“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,” says Tim Brooks. “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.”

“On average, a one-litre plastic PET bottle provides enough raw material for ten 2 x 4 LEGO bricks.”

Image source: LEGO

“The patent-pending material formulation increases the durability of PET to make it strong enough for LEGO bricks,” writes LEGO. “The innovative process uses a bespoke compounding technology to combine the recycled PET with strengthening additives.”

Image source: LEGO

LEGO says that the recycled prototype brick is the latest development in making the company’s products more sustainable. “In 2020, the company announced it will begin removing single-use plastic from its boxes. In 2018, it began producing elements from bio-polyethylene (bio-PE), made from sustainably sourced sugarcane,” writes LEGO. “Many LEGO sets contain elements made from bio-PE which is perfect for making smaller, softer pieces such as trees, branches, leaves and accessories for minifigures. Bio-PE is not currently suitable for making harder, stronger elements such as the iconic LEGO bricks.”

Image source: LEGO

“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,” added Tim Brooks.

Image source: LEGO

In the near future, LEGO plans to invest up to $400 million to accelerate its sustainability ambitions.

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lego, lego bricks, recycled plastic, recycled plastic bottles
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