LEGO has been making interlocking bricks since 1949 for children and kids-at-heart.
The only downside of Lego is that it is made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) that is manufactured from petroleum.
Due to the world’s awakening about the climate crisis and how the world is being polluted by too much plastic, LEGO decided to decrease its carbon footprint as well proactively.
WHAT WILL LEGO DO TO LESSEN ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT?
LEGO announced in a statement back in 2015, a $1 billion initiative is released to make its products sustainable by 2030.
According to Matt Whitby, Environmental Engagement Manager of the LEGO group, the main technical challenge is to develop a material that will have the same physical properties such as stiffness, friction, and shine as the one manufactured from petroleum.
“Most importantly, the bricks need clutch power, the flexibility that enables bricks to be put together and taken apart by a child,” Whitby explained.
He also explained that fulfilling these high technical requirements is a must for future LEGO bricks and that these bricks should continue to lead in safety standards, and should be produced from sustainable sources.
This is not the first time the toy company made an effort to be environmentally-friendly.
LEGO partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to promote global action on climate change and was able to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions in terms of manufacturing and supply chain operations.
The toy company has also made significant investments in wind power to balance the company’s energy use with renewable energy.
Another part of their plan to reduce their carbon footprint is to set a goal to make their packaging 100% sustainable by the year 2025.
This year, LEGO was able to introduce a new treehouse kit that is made from a new polyethylene manufactured from sugar cane.
He also explained that the plastic used in this toy kit is made from polyethylene that was harvested from sugarcane with guidance from the WWF.
According to Whitby, this small change is the company’s first important step on their journey towards sustainability in 2030.
WHAT WILL LEGO DO WITH ITS EXISTING BRICKS?
LEGO produces 19 million bricks every year made of the old ABS material.
Since the bioplastic replacements are not yet available for the company’s remaining stock, the company is still in the process of solving the issue of ABS usage.
In an article written by Forbes, with the help of Molly Morse, president and founder of Mango Materials, there are four ways that LEGO can do to reach its sustainability goal by 2030.
First, is to replace the materials used in their packaging with biopolymers.
This should be the easiest step since forest-friendly certified recycled cardboards are widely available in the market.
The company could also use another sustainable packaging like Ecovative, which uses mycelium to manufacture its products.
Second is to adopt a biological mindset to identify materials that can be substituted to ABS easily, and the company will have to think like a biologist and look for new ways to manufacture resins.
The third way is to brew the plastic and use the technology used in brewing beer to manufacture resins efficiently.
Lastly, LEGO should think about ditching the mold for its bricks. Instead, the company can start growing its bricks borrowing techniques from nature.
Published on sciencetimes.com
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