Playing with LEGO is fun but, thinking about the amount of plastic that goes into making it isn’t. In fact, around 44% of all plastic ever manufactured was made in the year 2000 or later, and in 2015, we reached 381 million tonnes. Even though we're becoming hugely aware of reusing plastic, it's still less than a fifth that actually gets recycled.
We desperately need to cut down on plastic and LEGO knows it too. That’s why they’ve committed to using sustainable materials in all core products and packaging by 2030. They’ve started by introducing sustainable paper pulp trays for their LEGO advent calendars and, most recently, they’ve been producing all of their botanical elements with a new material.
Today, every time a child or adult for that matter, buys a new LEGO set, the trees, bushes and leaves in it are made from a plant-based plastic. This is a soft, durable and flexible plastic made from sugarcane. It's still high-quality LEGO as you know it but, made from much more sustainable material.
This new initiative means that the plant-based elements will now cover 1-2% of the total amount of elements produced by the LEGO Group. While it may sound like a modest amount, it will have a big impact. And, this is only the first step in efforts to eventually manufacture all LEGO using sustainable materials.
The company has also made investments in wind power, so the energy used to make LEGO is balanced out by the production of renewable energy. This is part of their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and globally promote action on climate change in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA).
These are serious matters but, luckily, they don’t take away from the creative and imaginative ways people play with LEGO.
Designers: The LEGO Group - Denmark
UN SDGs: Quality education & Responsible production and consumption