When thinking about LEGO, we naturally think about a ton of plastic being used. And it should be no surprise that the plastic used till now (and what will be used in the near future) is not recycled plastic. Also, the toys manufacturer holds the unwanted distinction of the largest tire manufacturer in the world (a Guinness world record actually).
With these two things in mind, it should be no surprise to see that there is a growing number of people that criticize the company due to its negative impact on the environment. Fortunately, someone up the corporate ladder figured this out and it seems that LEGO is now trying to change its ways.
After 3 years of development, 250 variations of bricks and an incredible team of engineers and designers made out of 150 people (this does seem like overkills), LEGO debuted its first brick made out of recycled plastic (PET – polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. Officially, this is the first brick to meet LEGO’s safety, play, and quality requirements.
In a post on Instagram, the company declared:
“Drum roll please… We’re now using plastic bottles to make prototype LEGO bricks! This is a big step towards our commitment to make all our products from sustainable sources by 2030.”
Given the fact that it took 3 years to develop a PROTOTYPE brick, one might argue if this 2030 deadline is realistic.
What should be known is that the LEGO bricks made out of recycled plastic will not be available in the near future. There are actually still several other tests that the company wants to do, tests that will take one more year.
In an interview for DesignBoom, LEGO Vice President of Environmental Responsibility, Tim Brooks, declared:
“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.”
Officially, from one PET bottle of one liter, LEGO can make 2 LEGO bricks (2X4 inches).
In 2018, LEGO started to make changes to packaging and toys with the main purpose of increasing sustainability. This is definitely commendable and the company did start using bio-PE (bio-polyethylene) obtained from sustainably-sourced sugarcane. They are trying to lower their environmental footprint but one has to wonder why it takes 3 years to develop a prototype brick like the one mentioned with such a huge team of engineers and designers.