A few days ago, LEGO announced in a press-release, that their botanical elements – such as leaves, bushes and trees – will be made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane. The new pieces will appear in LEGO boxes as early as this year. The move is part of the LEGO Group’s commitment to use sustainable materials in core products and packaging by 2030. Below are the details. 🙂
Production has started on a range of sustainable LEGO elements made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane. The new sustainable LEGO ‘botanical’ elements will come in varieties including leaves, bushes and trees.
“At the LEGO Group 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. We are proud that the first LEGO elements made from sustainably sourced plastic are in production and will be in LEGO boxes this year. This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials,” said Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group.
The new sustainable LEGO elements are made from polyethylene, which is a soft, durable and flexible plastic, and while they are based on sugar-cane material, they are technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic. The elements have been tested to ensure the plant-based plastic meets the high standards for quality and safety that the LEGO Group has, and consumers expect from LEGO products.
“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 unique LEGO brick design, and the LEGO Group’s uncompromised focus on quality and safety during the past 60 years ensures that two LEGO bricks produced decades apart can still fit together. As the LEGO Group is working towards using sustainable materials in its core products and packaging, it will remain strongly rooted and driven by the uncompromised focus on high product quality and safety.
The LEGO Group has partnered with WWF to support and build demand for sustainably sourced plastic, and has joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), an initiative of WWF, to secure fully sustainable sourcing of raw material for the bioplastics industry. The plant-based plastic used to make the botanical LEGO elements is certified by the Bonsucro Chain of Custody standard for responsibly sourced sugarcane.
“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.”
It is also interesting to note from the press-release that currently there is no common definition of what a sustainable material is, but there are several aspects that influence what material is considered sustainable. To a high degree, it is determined by the material’s source, chemical composition, its use (in a product) and management (at end-of-life), and the impact it can have in both environmental and social areas. The LEGO Group believes a new sustainable material must have an ever-lighter footprint than the material it replaces across key environmental and social impact areas such as fossil resource use, human rights and climate change.
LEGO has been making significant efforts to be as eco-friendly as possible. Through investments in wind power, the energy used to make LEGO bricks is balanced by the production of renewable energy. They also regularly tweak their packaging to be more eco-friendly; like introducing sustainable paper pulp trays for the LEGO advent calendars, reducing plastic waste from going to landfill. And they targeted 2030 to reach zero waste in operations.
I’m very curious to try out the new sugarcane plants! Are they going to be sweet? Just kidding… The press-release indicates that we shouldn’t notice any difference, but still, I want to put that to the test. Durability and longevity are very important considerations when it comes to LEGO pieces. They have to be able to survive the rough play of children, and the erosive power of natural elements and time. I’m also wondering what other elements LEGO is going to be working on next! Makes me both nervous and excited for the future of LEGO bricks!
What do you think? How do you like the sugarcane plants and the idea of making LEGO bricks more sustainable? Do you have any comments, questions, concerns about the process? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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