Lego Wants to Replace Plastic Blocks With Sustainable Materials
The company plans to spend $1 billion and hire 100 specialists to find an alternative
To Lego, sustainable means changing where their plastics come from—the raw materials, or feedstocks. “The feedstock for plastic can come from many places that are not fossil based—bio-based, renewable or even recycled sources,” says Tim Brooks, Lego’s senior director of environmental sustainability. Part of the new center’s mission will be to test new feedstocks, including ones that are made out of plants. The center will also work to find a material that itself is recyclable, and that overall will have a lower carbon footprint than its current plastics—accounting for the energy that goes into shipping the raw materials to the plant, running the machines that assemble the toys, and the materials themselves.
The Lego Group wants to replace the plastic in their products with a “sustainable material” by 2030, the company announced.
The world’s largest toy company will invest $1 billion in their new LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre in Denmark, which will be devoted to finding and implementing new sustainable alternatives for their current building materials. Lego plans on hiring 100 specialists for the center.
Legos have been made with a strong plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene since 1963. The company uses more than 6,000 tons of plastic annually to manufacture its products, according to NBC News. There is no official definition of a sustainable material.
Changing the raw material could have a large effect on Lego’s carbon footprint, especially considering that only 10% of the carbon emissions from Lego products come from its factories. The other 90% is produced from the extraction and refinement of raw materials, as well as distribution from factories to toy stores.
The company has already taken steps to lower its carbon footprint, including a reduction of packaging size and an investment in an offshore wind farm.