Last Updated on December 27, 2019 by Danielle
LEGO announced plans to use plant-based plastics for some of its upcoming toys in its new environmental initiative.
For nearly seventy years, LEGO has been manufacturing its LEGO products with oil-based plastics. Now LEGO is changing the game by announcing plans to manufacture some of its toys with more sustainable plant-based plastics, such as tropically grown sugarcane.
LEGO recently announced that it will produce new softer LEGOs – such as trees, bushes, and leaves – from sugarcane-based plastics.
Tim Brooks, LEGO’s Vice President of Environmental Responsibility and Sustainable Materials Center, said in a statement: “It sounds high-falutin, but it is our belief that we owe it to children not to damage their planet by making their favorite toy.”
Although this new greening initiative will cost LEGO millions of dollars, it is being a socially responsible company and doing the right thing.
In its greening efforts, LEGO has already begun purchasing sugarcane from Brazil, which has garnered support from the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance. LEGO is being extra careful to make sure the sugarcane is in fact grown on agricultural land, so they’re not destroying rainforests to grow the crop they desire.
Presently, for producing its plants, bushes, and leaves, LEGO is utilizing polyethylene, a soft sugarcane-based plastic. By the end of the year, LEGO has plans to have every box of LEGO contain sugarcane-based LEGO bricks.
At this early stage, only one to two percent of all of LEGO’s products utlize polyethylene. The majority of its bricks use ABS plastics, which are oil-based and give it that hard, durable feel.
By 2030, LEGO has plans to make more of its products from sustainable sources, like plants.
According to Stephen Mayfield, a molecular biologist at UC San Diego with no affiliation to LEGO, he stated: “LEGO’s move is a step in the right direction. You’ll find haters, but it’s way better than petroleum – so LEGO should be applauded for doing this.”
The other major benefit of transitioning from oil-based to plant-based plastics is that it significantly curbs your carbon footprint by roughly 70 percent. According to Mayfield, “the more we can go to biological sources, the better it is.”
Additionally, the carbon footprint on Brazilian sugarcane is actually better because it is boiled and processed with leftover plant matter versus harnessing fossil fuels to decompose plastic materials, as is typically done in the United States.
This is not LEGO’s first environmental initiative. Previously, LEGO had reduced the sizes of its cardboard boxes to reduce its environmental impact on our planet. In fact, that initiative also reduced their carbon footprint by eliminating 4,000 trucks from the roadways each year. Also, a greater number of boxes can be transported with each shipment so there were also distribution gains.
By leveraging plant-based sourcing, LEGO will be able to achieve its sustainability goals while doing its part for the sustainability of our planet and future generations. Although this is only the beginning, it represents a step in the right direction and sets a precedent for others to follow suit.