As the company aims to make all bricks from sustainable materials by 2030, the LEGO Group has unveiled a prototype brick made from recycled plastic bottles.
For decades, ABS has been the material that traditional LEGO bricks are made from. The company has set an ambitious 2030 target, by which time the goal is to make all products from sustainable materials. It’s a challenging task, giving the strict safety standards and material quality that the LEGO brand is known for.
The effort has got a bit further on today, as a new prototype 2×4 brick made from PET plastic from discarded bottles has been revealed. It’s the first brick made from a recycled material to meet the company’s strict quality and safety requirements.
Materials scientists and engineers have been testing more than 250 variations of PET materials as well as hundreds of other plastic formulations, with this brick being the result of those efforts. It meets the safety requirements and the play requirements, with the LEGO Group promising it has the necessary clutch power.
We’ll be learning more about these recycled bricks in an upcoming issue of Blocks, as well as investigating clutch power. To get the LEGO magazine for fans every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘We are super excited about this breakthrough,’ says LEGO Vice President of Environmental Responsibility Tim Brooks. ‘The biggest challenge on our sustainability journey is rethinking and innovating new materials that are as durable, strong and high quality as our existing bricks – and fit with LEGO elements made over the past 60 years. With this prototype we’re able to showcase the progress we’re making.”’
As this is only a prototype, more testing is required before the company moves to a pilot phase, meaning consumers won’t find these btri9cks in their boxes anytime soon.
‘We know kids care about the environment and want us to make our products more sustainable. Even though it will be a while before they will be able to play with bricks made from recycled plastic, we want to let kids know we’re working on it and bring them along on the journey with us. Experimentation and failing is an important part of learning and innovation. Just as kids build, unbuild and rebuild with LEGO bricks at home, we’re doing the same in our lab.’
The prototype is made from recycled PET sourced from suppliers in the United States that use US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved processes to ensure quality. Each one litre plastic bottle can, on average, provide enough raw material for ten 2 x 4 LEGO bricks.