We know that most plastics are not good for the long-term health of Mother Earth. So how do we square that away with our love of LEGOs, one of the most universally-beloved toys in the world? Good news: LEGO has begun production on a range of sustainable products made from plant-based plastic, which is sourced from sugarcane.
“Botanical” elements of LEGO kits like leaves, bushes and trees will be made with the plant-based plastic and will appear in boxes being sold this year. These comprise one to two percent of the company’s toy parts. (As of right now, LEGO bricks are unaffected.)
Consumers should not notice any difference in the new products, as the plant-based polyethylene they are made from has many of the same properties as regular, petrochemical-based plastic.
In 2015, LEGO announced it planned to phase out the use of fossil fuel-derived plastics and introducing these plant-based plastics is part of the company’s overall strategy to use sustainable materials in core products and packaging by 2030.
Lego’s push to implement sustainable materials is driven by its desire to reduce its impact on the environment and to leave the planet a better place for the next generation. To help source sustainable materials, LEGO has joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The BFA has ensured that the new botanical LEGOs made of plant-based plastic are from responsibly sourced sugarcane.
Here’s a cute video about the plant-based plastics in LEGOs:
“It is essential that companies in each industry find ways to responsibly source their product materials and help ensure a future where people, nature, and the economy thrive,” said Alix Grabowski, a senior program officer at WWF, in a statement to LEGO. “The LEGO Group’s decision to pursue sustainably sourced bio-based plastics represents an incredible opportunity to reduce dependence on finite resources, and their work with the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance will allow them to connect with other companies to continue to think creatively about sustainability.”
According to the company, there is no official definition of what constitutes a sustainable material. However, LEGO stated that believes that a new sustainable material “must have an ever-lighter footprint than the material it replaces across key environmental and social impact areas such as fossil resources use, human rights and climate change.”
In addition to a commitment to using sustainable materials, other steps the company is taking to reduce their environmental impact include partnering with WWF to reduced CO2 emissions in manufacturing and supply chain operations and investing in wind power. The company has also used sustainable paper pulp trays for the Lego Advent calendar, which reduces plastic waste from going to a landfill.