Danish toy group giant, LEGO has revealed a prototype LEGO® brick, manufactured from recycled PET plastic that meets the company’s strict quality and safety requirement.
The PET plastic, for recycling, is sourced from US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved suppliers. The first-of-its-kind-brick is the latest step by the LEGO to make their products from sustainable materials.
Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group, Tim Brooks says, “We are 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. With this prototype we’re able to showcase the progress we’re making.”
Although people have to wait longer, before LEGO starts shipping the prototype brick, a team of more than 150 people are working to find sustainable solutions for LEGO products. The product has been under development for last three years and engineers have tested over 250 variations of PET materials and hundreds of plastic formulation. The patent-pending material is developed using a bespoke compounding technology to combine recycled PET with strengthening additives. The next phase of pilot production is yet to be determined and expected to take at least a year.
Brooks continues, “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. 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.”
This announcement is the latest in series of steps that the company has taken in last few years to make LEGO products more sustainable. In 2018, they started producing elements of LEGO toys using bio-polyethylene (bio-PE), made from sustainable sources such as sugar cane. But this process isn’t suitable for stronger elements like LEGO bricks, hence was limited to be used for smaller accessories in LEGO sets. The company, in 2020, also announced that it has begun removing single-use plastic from its boxes. The LEGO group is expected to invest $400million in next three years to meet its sustainability goals.