Lego unveils sustainable brick made from recycled PET
It's the first-ever brick from the Danish toy maker to be made from a recycled material.
Lego Group has unveiled a prototype Lego brick made from recycled plastic, the first-ever brick from the Danish toy maker to be made from a recycled material.
The new prototype, which uses PET plastic from discarded bottles, is the result of a three-year project by materials scientists and engineers to find what the company calls a sustainable solution for Lego products. Over 250 variations of PET materials and hundreds of other plastic formulations were tested, Lego says, and the result is a prototype that meets several of its quality, safety, and play requirements – including clutch power.
The prototype is made from recycled PET sourced from suppliers in the U.S. that use US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved processes to ensure quality. On average, a one-litre plastic PET bottle provides enough raw material for ten 2 x 4 Lego bricks.
“The patent-pending material formulation increases the durability of PET to make it strong enough for [the] bricks,” Lego said. “The innovative process uses a bespoke compounding technology to combine the recycled PET with strengthening additives.”
But Lego cautions that it will be some time before bricks made from a recycled material appear in Lego product boxes. “The team will continue testing and developing the PET formulation and then assess whether to move to the pilot production phase,” Lego said, and this next phase of testing is expected to take at least a year.
Lego’s focus on sustainable material innovation is just one of several different initiatives the company has in place to make a positive impact. Company officials say that Lego will invest up to US$400 million over three years to 2022 to accelerate its sustainability ambitions, which involve making Lego products from sustainable materials.