LEGO has unveiled its first brick made from recycled plastic as part of its aim to make its products from sustainable materials.
The new prototype, which uses PET plastic from discarded bottles, is the first Lego brick made from a recycled material to meet the company’s strict quality and safety standards.
On average, a one-litre plastic PET bottle provides enough raw materials for ten 2 x 4 Lego bricks. The recycled PET is sourced from suppliers in the United States that use FDA and European Food Safety Authority approved processes to ensure quality.
Lego said that the patent-pending material formulation increases the durability of PET to make it strong enough for its bricks, with bespoke compounding technology being used to combine the recycled PET with strengthening additives.
The firm added that it will be ‘some time’ before the bricks are found in Lego product boxes, as they will have to continue testing and formulating the PET formulation before then assessing whether to move it into the production phase – with the next round of trials anticipated to last for a year.
Vice president of environmental responsibility at the Lego Group, Tim Brooks, said, “We are super excited about this breakthrough. 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.
“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.”