LEGO Works to Make Bricks from Recycled Plastic
Sep 15, 2021
The LEGO Group has been working on a way to make LEGO bricks out of recycled plastic.
The bricks aren’t ready yet, but the company says it’s making progress. Making bricks from recycled materials could cut pollution from the company’s bricks by 70%. Since roughly 1960, LEGO bricks have been made from a kind of plastic called ABS. ABS plastic makes LEGO bricks very tough, and gives them great clutch power, over and over again.
Sadly, ABS plastic can’t really be recycled, and it takes an extremely long time to break down. That’s a big problem. The world is struggling with a huge plastic waste problem. And LEGO makes about 110 billion bricks every year. But since 2015, LEGO has been making an effort to make their products more earth-friendly. Three years ago, the company began making some LEGO parts, like trees, out of a plastic made from sugar cane. Recently, LEGO started using paper bags instead of plastic to reduce packaging.
But making bricks out of recycled plastic is a big challenge. The goal is to make bricks out of PET plastic, which is softer than ABS plastic and can be found in things like bottles and clothing. A recycled one-liter plastic bottle could make about 10 2×4 LEGO bricks. The company is working to figure out a way to add color to the bricks – right now they’re just white. They will also work on molding them into other shapes. The bricks will go through many different tests, which will take at least a year.
The LEGO Group’s goal is to make all of their main products out of sustainable materials by the year 2030. Making bricks from used PET instead of new ABS won’t just cut down on plastic waste. It could cut down on the pollution generated by making the bricks by about 70%.