LEGO Going Green
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Life and Arts

LEGO Going Green

Can toys be eco-friendly?

WHAT IT IS

  • March, 2018: The LEGO Group announced that all new green-colored pieces will be "eco-friendly pieces" made with sugar-cane plastic. [LEGO], [How Stuff Works]

  • LEGO pieces are traditionally made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is based on crude oil. [BBC]

  • LEGO has also pledged by 2020, 100% of the energy used will come from renewable sources. [How Stuff Works]

“At the LEGO Group, we want to make a positive impact on the world around us..."

-Tim Brooks, VP of Environmental Responsibility at LEGO.

  • The first LEGO eco-friendly pieces will be composed of "botanical elements" such as leaves, bushes, and trees. [LEGO]
  • LEGO has also pledge that all products and packaging will be created with sustainable materials by 2030.

< - - - - Learn more about sugarcane plastic, and where one company finds it.

WHY IT MATTERS

 

The LEGO Group's various efforts to "go green" could set a precedent, or be an example, for other toy makers to follow.

 

THE SUGARS 

Same quality

LEGO believes children and parents will not notice a difference in the new pieces because "plant-based polyethylene has the same properties as conventional" plastic. [How Stuff Works]

 

 

Ethical sourcing

The company pledged to source the sugar-cane in an ethical way. [How Stuff Works]

 

 

More jobs

By changing production, the LEGO Group plans to hire more than 100 people to work on the project. [CNN]

THE PLASTICS

Costly

The LEGO Group is investing $150 million to change production [CNN]. This changes a process that has been in place since the 1960s. [CBS News]

 

 

Doesn't work

Initial tests found that after a few weeks of use, LEGO bricks made with sugar-cane plastic failed to stick together. [CBS News]

 

 

Not really eco

Only 1-2% of the “eco-friendly” blocks will be made with the sugar-cane plastic. The remaining 98-99% will be created with the traditional ABS. [Phys.org], [The Telegraph]

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • The eco-friendly pieces are available for purchase.

  • ABS still comprises 70% of total LEGO plastic usage (6,000 tons) each year. [Wired]

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • 60 billion LEGO pieces were created in 2014. [CBS News]

  • Read more about how plastic is created.

  • What happens to your former toys when you are through with them? Do you donate? Pass them down? Trash it?
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