Later this year, LEGO will be launching new botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees made from a plant-based plastic. In the company’s bid to reduce their plastic waste, the new pieces will be made with a plant-based material sourced from sugarcane.
This is to be the first step towards LEGO’s ultimate goal of producing all products and packaging with sustainable material by 2030. Instead of the standard oil based plastics, the new plant-based plastic pieces are made from polyethylene, which is a soft, durable and flexible plastic. While they’re based on sustainably sourced sugarcane (certified by the Bonsucro Chain of Custody Standard), they’re technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic.
“LEGO products have always been about providing high-quality play experiences, giving every child the chance to shape their own world through inventive play. Children and parents will not notice any difference in the quality or appearance of the new elements,” said Tim Brooks, VP of Environmental Responsibility.
LEGO environmental initiatives
The Danish company previously invested CDN$212 million for a dedicated Sustainable Materials Centre, with a mandate to research and implement sustainable alternatives to its current products. According to a research report by World Watch Institute in 2015, about 4 percent of global annual consumption of petroleum is used to make plastic.
Though sustainable material can be a loose term, LEGO believes the new material must “have an ever-lighter footprint than the material it replaces.” This is considered across impact areas like fossil fuel use, human rights, and climate change. The company has also invested in wind power, as well as introduced paper pulp trays for its Lego advent calendars—which reduces plastic waste in landfills.
LEGO has also partnered with World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), as part of its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and promote global action on climate change. They’ve also joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), to secure fully sustainable sourcing of raw material for the bioplastics industry.
To learn more about their new sustainable plant-based plastic collection, visit their website. If you have LEGO bricks laying around that you no longer want, Lego recommends donating them. And if they’re worn and no longer usable, you can recycle them with regular household plastics.