The Lego Group has unveiled a prototype brick made from recycled plastic, a major step in its journey to make products from sustainable materials.
The prototype is made from PET plastic sourced from suppliers in the US that use US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved processes to ensure quality.
According to the company, the prototype took three years and a team of more than 150 people to develop in order to meet several of their quality, safety, and play requirements – including clutch power.
“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,” said Tim Brooks, VP of environmental responsibility at Lego Group.
“With this prototype we’re able to showcase the progress we’re making.”
On average, a one-litre plastic PET bottle provides enough raw material for 10 2×4 Lego bricks.
The company said it will be some time before bricks made from a recycled material appear in Lego product boxes as the team will continue testing and developing the PET formulation and then assess whether to move to the pilot production phase. The next testing phase is expected to take at least a year.
“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,” Brooks said.
Lego’s new recycled prototype brick is the latest development in making its products more sustainable. Last year, the company said it will begin removing single-use plastic from its boxes.
Lego Group has also committed to invest up to US$400 million over three years to 2022 to accelerate its sustainability ambitions.
Lego’s news follows an announcement by Mattel earlier this month that a range of Barbie dolls would be produced using recycled plastic.