Lego is synonymous with plastic. But one day that may change.
In children’s playrooms and family living room floors around the world, small plastic blocks are a staple. In today’s world, Lego is synonymous with plastic. For this reason, the recent news from Lego, that they will move to all non-plastic or recycled materials by 2030 is quite significant, even at a time when it seems like just about every second company is staking their claim in the anti-plastic movement.
In a statement, Lego said, “Resources should be sourced and used responsibly, so they will still benefit future generations. We are constantly in pursuit of more sustainable solutions to our raw materials consumption and our packaging.”
According to its own reporting, the Danish company is responsible for roughly one million tons of carbon dioxide annually and is under pressure to innovative both to stay competitive in an increasingly online world of play, and to reduce its carbon footprint. The vast majority of its emissions come from the raw materials needed to create the petroleum-based plastic blocks. In an effort to reduce their carbon emissions, Lego has also claimed a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2020.
As a first foray into sustainable materials, Lego is set to release this year a new line of nature-inspired blocks, that come in earth tones and shapes. These first blocks are made from bioplastics, sourced from sugarcane. The announcement has received criticism for not being biodegradable and other potentially negative environmental impacts from increased land use for sugar cane production. This is, however, a first step to eliminating plastics along Lego’s sustainability journey and the company recognizes this as a process of innovation towards a fully sustainable solution by 2030.
Lego is hoping that its move to become plastic free won’t mean a step away from the colours, shapes and ingenuity behind simple plastic blocks that click together to build an endless number of possible structures. But much work, research, and investment are required until then to make it a reality. To get there, the company is investing 1 billion kroner and ramping up staff dedicated to these sustainability initiatives.
Tim Brooks, Lego’s Vice President of environmental responsibility, said: “At Lego, we want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and we are working hard to make great play products for children using sustainable materials. This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all Lego bricks using sustainable material.”