LEGO Going Green
gettyimages 459643784

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.1 2

  • LEGO pieces are traditionally made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is based on crude oil.3

  • LEGO has also pledged by 2020, 100% of the energy used will come from renewable sources4 16, and that all products and packaging will be created with sustainable materials by 2030. 

“At the LEGO Group, we want to make a positive impact on the world around us..."1 

-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.5 

 

< - - - - 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.6

 

 

Ethical sourcing

The company pledged to source the sugar-cane in an ethical way.7

 

 

More jobs

By changing production, the LEGO Group plans to hire more than 100 people to work on the project.8

THE PLASTICS

Costly

The LEGO Group is investing $150 million to change production.9 This changes a process that has been in place since the 1960s.10

 

 

Doesn't work

Initial tests found that after a few weeks of use, LEGO bricks made with sugar-cane plastic failed to stick together.11

 

 

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.12 15

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.13

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • 60 billion LEGO pieces were created in 2014.14
  • 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?
Key Vocabulary