Toy company LEGO has recently launched the prototype for recycled toy bricks made from plastic waste.
In a move towards producing toys from sustainable materials, the company has designed a product made using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic from recycled water bottles. The milestone is part of LEGO’s mission to sustainably produce all products by 2030.
The company is working to ensure that all recyclable bricks and future toys are compatible with all versions of the brick that have been released over the past 60 years.
According to a Q&A page on the company website, “Any sustainable elements we make now and in the future must fit with the LEGO System in Play.”
“This is always one of our top priorities when we’re researching new materials and it’s something we test thoroughly to make sure we get right.”
The recyclable prototypes come after three years of experiments using 250 material variations and are currently undergoing tests to ensure that the product “feels, sounds and clicks like other bricks”.
According to Tim Brooks, Vice President for Environmental Responsibility at LEGO Group, “The biggest challenge on our sustainability journey is rethinking and innovating new materials that are as durable, strong and high quality as our existing bricks.”
In order to meet the company’s quality and safety requirements, LEGO has deployed a team of 150 scientists, engineers and experts to build a product that is of equal or better quality than earlier versions.
“We’re committed to playing our part in building a sustainable future for generations of children. We want our products to have a positive impact on the planet, not just with the play they inspire, but also with the materials we use.”
Other sustainability measures that the company has undertaken include removing single use plastic from its packaging. In 2018 LEGO began using bio-polyethylene (bio-PE), made from sustainably sourced sugarcane, as a plastic alternative. While this material is being used for softer products, it is not strong enough to replace the LEGO brick.
The company aims to invest up to US $400 million by 2022 in sustainability initiatives.