Lego gives up on its attempt to produce recyclable plastic bottle bricks
Author: Responsible Business News / Date: 15 November 2023
According to a Danish corporation, difficulties using non-oil-based components would have resulted in higher overall carbon emissions.
Lego discontinued a project to create bricks made of recycled soda bottles rather than plastic derived from oil, claiming that it would have increased carbon emissions over the course of the product’s lifetime.
As part of a wave of businesses reevaluating their contribution to global emissions as the climate crisis strikes, the move, which was first reported by the Financial Times, came after efforts by the largest toymaker in the world to discover more sustainable materials.
The Danish company, which annually produces billions of Lego pieces, started looking into the possibility of switching from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which requires roughly 2kg of petroleum to generate 1kg of plastic, to recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in 2021. Approximately 80% of Lego blocks are made of ABS.
The non-oil-based substance was softer and required more ingredients for durability, as well as more energy for processing and drying, according to Tim Brooks, Lego’s head of sustainability. “It’s like trying to make a bike out of wood rather than steel,” he added.
He claimed that in order to scale up the usage of recycled PET, “the level of disruption to the manufacturing environment was such that we needed to change everything in our factories.” “The carbon impact would have been bigger after all that. It was disappointing”
According to the business, more than 150 workers were devoted to sustainability as of 2021. Niels Christiansen, the chief executive of Lego, however, claimed that the company “tested hundreds and hundreds of materials” but was unable to discover a “magic material” to address sustainability challenges. Instead, Lego seeks to increase the amount of bio-based and recycled material in each ABS component to make it more environmentally friendly. By 2025, the organisation would spend three times as much on sustainability, or 3 billion Danish kroner (£350 million), although Christiansen vowed not to pass on extra costs to customers.