Lego recently announced that they will start producing pieces from sustainable sugar cane. The toys, which will be indistinguishable from classic Legos, will also feature “botanical elements” like leaves, bushes, and trees. Lego’s current bricks are made from oil-based plastics.
“We want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and are working hard to make great play products for children using sustainable materials,” said Tim Brooks, vice president, environmental responsibility at the Lego Group, in a statement. “This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all Lego bricks using sustainable materials.”
The new line of production has reportedly already started with pieces being produced from polyethylene, which is a soft, durable and flexible plastic — technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic. Lego says that we needn’t worry about the quality of the new products, as they’ve tested the plant-based plastic to ensure that it meets the high standards for quality and safety that consumers expect from the company.
“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, because plant-based polyethylene has the same properties as conventional polyethylene,” said Tim Brooks.
The move is part of Lego’s campaign to use sustainable materials in its core products and packaging by 2030, a move in which they have already invested $165 million. According to a research report, 4% of the world’s petroleum is used as a raw material to make plastic, and another 4% is used in the plastic-making process. Since plastic is so ubiquitous and so notoriously non-eco-friendly, finding ways to replace it is extremely important. With this in mind, Lego has partnered with WWF to play their part, joining the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), which supports the responsible development of plastics made from plant material.
“It is essential that companies in each industry find ways to responsibly source their product materials and help ensure a future where people, nature, and the economy thrive,” said Alix Grabowski, a senior program officer at WWF. “The LEGO Group’s decision to pursue sustainably sourced bio-based plastics represents an incredible opportunity to reduce dependence on finite resources, and their work with the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance will allow them to connect with other companies to continue to think creatively about sustainability.”