Lego abandons efforts to make bricks from recycled plastic bottles after finding it didn’t reduce CO2 emissions
Baku, September 28, AZERTAC
Lego has ditched plans to use recycled plastic bottles to make its beloved building blocks after its efforts toward sustainability did not reduce the company’s overall CO2 emissions, according to New York Post.
Two years after Lego unveiled a prototype made from recycled PET plastic — a supposed improvement from the oil-based plastic the company’s bricks have historically been made from — Lego said it won’t be moving forward in making the new building blocks.
“We have decided not to progress making bricks from recycled PET after more than two years of testing as we found the material didn’t reduce carbon emissions,” a company spokesperson told The Post.
About 80% of the 60 billion-plus of Lego pieces made each year contain ABS, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a petroleum-based plastic that’s commonly used in computer keyboards and in car interiors.
Typically, about 4.4 pounds of petroleum is needed to produce 2.2 pounds of plastic.
The move scraps years’ worth of work by a team of over 150 people, according to Lego, which told Bloomberg that recycled PET from discarded bottles won’t reduce overall CO2 emissions because it requires too much new production equipment.
Lego told The Post it would be looking into other solutions, such as e-methanol — which is produced from renewable energy sources — adding that PET is just “one of hundreds of different sustainable materials.”
The Danish toymaker has set a goal to be CO2 neutral by 2050, with an interim target to reach a 37% emissions reduction from 2019 to 2032 — and is spending an eye-watering sum of $1.2 billion over the next four years in order to achieve this.
Lego has already invested more than $1 billion in a carbon-neutral, 1.7 million square-foot factory that will employ nearly 2,000 people in Chesterfield County, Va., located just south of the state capital.
All of the factory’s day-to-day energy needs will be matched by an on-site solar park, Lego said when it announced plans for the project last year.
The company also chalked up another $1 billion on a net-zero factory in Vietnam, which broke ground in November and is slated to start production sometime in 2024.
Back in 2019, Lego debuted Reply in the US and Canada, which allows customers to donate their building blocks, which are then cleaned and sorted before being donated to children in need.
Mattel launched a similar initiative in 2021, calling on Barbie doll, Matchbox car and MEGA building block owners to download a free shipping label on the company’s website, pack up their toys and send it to Mattel.
Dubbed the Mattel PlayBack program, the eco-friendly strategy was part of an effort for the toy giant to convert 100% of its toys into bio-based plastic materials, including their packaging, by 2030.