Lego is making great progress in the search for greener bricks

Lego, the world’s largest toy maker, has made major headway in its attempt to move away from oil-based plastics, unveiling the prototype of its iconic bricks made from recycled beverage bottles.

The Danish group said it expects to start selling recycled plastic bricks within 18-24 months after further testing.

Lego’s goal is to eliminate everything by 2030 oleoplastics of the 75 billion pieces it produces each year, but has struggled to find recycled materials that match the famous “clutch strength” of the original bricks, allowing them to stay stuck together but reasonably easy to break apart.

breakthrough It includes Using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from discarded plastic beverage bottles, with a 1-liter container that produces about ten Lego 2 x 4 cubes.

“The biggest challenge in our sustainability journey is to rethink and create new materials that are as durable, strong, and high-quality as our existing bricks – and match Lego elements that have been made over the past 60 years,” said Tim Brooks, Lego’s Head of Environmental Responsibility, using this prototype. , we are able to display the progress we are making.

Lego currently needs 2 kg of petroleum per 1 kg of ABS plastic pellets, which they use in 80-85 percent of all bricks. Outside experts say that one kilogram of ABS costs a toymaker about a dollar, and then it turns into sets like police stations or Star Wars ships that cost about $75 a kilogram.

All new Lego materials must interact with each other and must also work with all previous versions of the decades-old bricks © Lego/Reuters

The Danish toy maker started in 2018 by replacing oil-based polyethylene with a plant-based version of the same plastic for about 20 different parts including trees, shrubs and some dragon wings.

Lego’s task is complicated because not only do all the new materials have to interact with each other, they also have to work with all previous versions of bricks dating back decades.

Brooks told the Financial Times in 2018 that Lego had a “dating game” in which it tested all possible new materials together to discover, for example, whether a miniature anthropomorphic head was stuck to an object in hot or cold conditions.

The toy maker’s sales and profits have skyrocketed in the past two decades, allowing it to rise above previous competitors like Mattel and Hasbro despite ostensibly having one product: plastic bricks.

Lego is increasingly testing products that obliterate physical bricks through digital play, including augmented reality, and is pushing into China with the rapid expansion of its retail stores.

Lego said it will test its recycled PET bricks for about a year before deciding whether to go into trial production. Recycled PET is sourced from suppliers that use processes approved by food regulators in the United States and Europe.

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