In August 2018 the Danish toy maker LEGO unveiled their new line of plastic blocks made out of plant based material sourced from sugarcane. The LEGO Botanical elements include leaves, bushes and trees.
Most of us are familiar with the plastic blocks either from our childhood or getting them for our children. Nothing says love like a $400 DIY Millennium Falcon.
The 2030 Commitment
LEGO has promised that this move is the first in many to fulfill their commitment to use sustainable materials in core products and packaging by 2030. They have a long way to go, however its good to see such a large company taking the necessary steps to reduce their conventional plastic use.
The new LEGO elements are made from polyethylene, which is a durable yet flexible plastic, they are technically identically to those produced using conventional plastics. Since the plant-based polyethylene has the same properties as conventional polyethylene, LEGO's customers will not notice a difference in quality or appearance of each block.
About LEGO elements made from plants
- Polyethylene elements are 1-2% of the total amount of plastic elements produced by the LEGO Group; The sustainable product range covers LEGO® botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees made entirely from plant-based plastic.
- Plant-based polyethylene used in LEGO elements is made from ethanol produced from sugarcane.
- The sugarcane used is sourced sustainably in accordance with guidance from the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA) and is certified following global standards for responsibly sourced sugarcane.
- All suppliers must comply with the LEGO Group’s Code of Conduct, which specifies strict requirements for ethical, environmental and health & safety standards based on leading global guidelines.
- The LEGO Group works closely with its suppliers to ensure life-cycle assessments are conducted, which map the environmental impacts from the production of the bio-based material.
Why So Long?
Although 2030 seems like a ways away, LEGO is determined to keep quality and safety top priority. LEGO states that you can use a pieces that was made today on a piece that was made 10 years ago. With that promise to their customers, they need to be sure that the new sustainable materials they are working with will not only hold up through time, but also have the ability to clip on the old pieces that have been made in past decades.
We are happy to see necessary steps being take by companies like LEGO and Adidas (see our other blog post HERE) by introducing sustainable materials into the products.
Here's to hoping the new sustainable blocks hurt a little less when you step on them.