Lego has reportedly ditched its plans to make bricks from recycled soda bottles instead of oil-based plastic after finding that it would not actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the company maintains they’re still committed to bricks from sustainable materials within a decade.
Lego’s chief executive, Niels Christiansen, told the Financial Times (FT) that the iconic Danish toy maker had “tested hundreds and hundreds of materials” but they’re struggling to find a “magic material” to replace their oil-based plastic bricks.
In 2020, Lego made a pledge to make all of its bricks out of sustainable materials by 2030. However, the project appears to have met some hitches.
Most classic Lego pieces are currently made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a thermoplastic polymer that’s derived from petroleum. The company had been toying with the idea of switching to recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET), another thermoplastic polymer that’s commonly found in drink bottles, but their research concluded that it would ultimately produce just as much greenhouse gas emissions.
Recycled PET lacks many of the desired qualities that make their classic bricks. Its manufacturing requires extra ingredients to give it robustness and make it safe, plus it needs more energy to process and dry the material. Once this is accounted for, Lego says it would prove to be just as unsustainable as their current options.
“It’s like trying to make a bike out of wood rather than steel,” Tim Brooks, Lego’s head of sustainability, told the FT.
Nevertheless, the company isn't giving up on its mission, claiming they are still committed to making its bricks from sustainable materials by 2032.
As per the Independent, a Lego spokesperson said: “We remain fully committed to making Lego bricks from sustainable materials by 2032.”
“We are investing more than 1.4 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) in sustainability initiatives in the four years to 2025 as part of our efforts to transition to more sustainable materials and reduce our carbon emissions by 37 percent by 2032,” they added.