Three years ago, LEGO set out on a mission to develop a sustainable solution that would have a positive impact on both their production line and the environment.
After setting up their Sustainable Materials Center, a $155 million initiative, LEGO tasked more than 100 employees with the challenge to create a new manufacturing method that would utilize 100% sustainable materials by 2030 – a monumental undertaking at the time.
This month, LEGO finally got to see how their investment into “going green” has begun to pay off, and the results are quite impressive. Roughly 25 different LEGO shapes, most of them trees, plants, and bushes, are being made from a bio-plastic alternative using sugarcane-based polyurethane, rather than oil-based plastics.
Although a small milestone in the grand scheme of things, this new production alternative has helped get the ball rolling. By the end of the year, fewer than two percent of LEGO bricks and accessories will be manufactured using the new bio-plastic alternative. Though the percentage may seem small, keep in mind that LEGO manufactures more than 70 billion components each year.
It may sound like a fairly simple task to apply this new bio-plastic solution across LEGO’s vast array of products, but there are many other factors the company must consider before they alter their entire production.
In order for LEGO to spread this new manufacturing concept across their product line, they must take into account durability, colorfastness, strength, and clutch power (how well the blocks will stack up on one another). There are plenty of plant-based plastics on the market, but few stack up to LEGO’s quality standards.
The company has come a long way in their strive for a sustainable manufacturing solution, but with a product line consisting of twenty different types of plastic, LEGO still has their work cut out for them. Regardless, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.