The LEGO Group has unveiled a prototype brick made entirely of recycled plastic, the latest step in its journey to make LEGO products from sustainable materials.
The new prototype, which uses PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic from discarded bottles, is the first brick made from a recycled material to meet the company’s strict quality and safety requirements.
The brick is the result of over three years of testing by materials scientists and engineers.
“We are super excited about this breakthrough,” said Tim Brooks, the Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group. “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. With this prototype we’re able to showcase the progress we’re making.”
On average, a one-liter plastic PET bottle yields enough raw material for ten 2 x 4 Lego bricks.
But don’t rush to your nearest toy store just yet. The team plans to continue testing and developing the PET formulation and then assess whether to move to the pilot production phase.
“We know kids care about the environment and want us to make our products more sustainable,” Brooks said. “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. Experimentation and failing is an important part of learning and innovation. Just as kids build, unbuild and rebuild with LEGO bricks at home, we’re doing the same in our lab.”
The recycled prototype brick is the latest development in making the LEGO Group’s products more sustainable. In 2020, the company announced it will begin removing single-use plastic from its boxes.