The toy industry as a whole has come under fire in recent years as growing awareness surrounding plastic pollution has entered the public consciousness. The way in which plastic is made and the sheer volume that is produced, has proved to be extremely damaging to the environment. It has been estimated that around 90% of toys contain plastic. While toys generally have a longer life-cycle than single-use plastic, this still adds up to an incredible amount of waste eventually ending up in landfill.
As a toy manufacturer that has plastic bricks at the heart of its business structure, LEGO has been keen to create a more environmentally friendly image. This has involved a shift to more sustainable business practices and has involved significant investment in finding an alternative to oil-based plastics. In 2018, the company set a target to manufacture all of its products from sustainable materials by 2030. In June 2021, the toy manufacturer unveiled a prototype for a brick made from recycled drinks bottles. Following the revelation of the new prototype, the company has said that it hopes to begin retailing recycled plastic bricks within the next two years.
LEGO has previously forayed into sustainable manufacture, with around 5% of its plastic products being made from a polymer that comes from sugar cane. Should further testing prove successful, LEGO’s new recycled plastic brick could accelerate the company’s transition to purely sustainable materials. A further environmental benefit of the new brick prototype comes in the form of reduced emissions. The company currently emits around 1.2 million tons of carbon per year. Switching to recycled plastic would help to cut such emissions. Should testing prove successful, this new recycled plastic brick would place LEGO firmly at the forefront of sustainability efforts in the toy industry.