The newest product from the LEGO Group uses PET plastic from discarded bottles and is the first brick made from a recycled material to meet the company’s quality and safety standards required to put them to market. By 2030, the company aims to make its signature bricks from recycled or renewable materials that can also be fully recycled, which would be a huge win for a business that makes around 100 million bricks every day.
According to the group, the prototype is made from recycled PET sourced from suppliers in the United States. On average, a one-litre plastic PET bottle (think of the standard one-litre soft drink bottle) provides enough raw material for ten 2 x 4 LEGO bricks. The company then uses an innovative material formulation process where the recycled PET is combined with strengthening additives to ensure the material is strong enough to make the bricks.
“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,” said LEGO Group’s Vice President of Environmental Responsibility 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.”
The focus on material innovation is just the latest in a series of sustainability commitments made in anticipation of circular economy principles becoming a defining feature of businesses around the world. Last year the group became members of the Ellen MacArthur circular economy network and its ambition for all packaging to be made from renewable or recycled materials, as well as being recyclable themselves, by 2025.
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