Lego Wants To Solve The World’s Plastics Problem With A Biomaterial That Can Survive Generations Of Play

Lego Wants To Solve The World’s Plastics Problem With A Biomaterial That Can Survive Generations Of Play
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Lego building blocks use a lot of plastics, but the company wants to find a greener alternative

Zack Palm
  • 17 august 2017

When discussing aletrnatives to plastics, it’s not often that the building block we played with as a kid comes to mind: lego. Not only were these popular plastic construction blocks perfect for children to explore their imagination, but now the company wants to use more sustainable practices to lessen their carbon footprint in the world. Lego has made great strides forward from starting to investigate how they can transition from traditional plastics to bioplastics in their blocks to investing in wind energy farms in Europe.

A bioplastic derives from renewable biomass sources in plants, using vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, or microbiota. The process of mass producing this variety of plastic normally cost more than traditional plastics, and companies don’t receive as much with a finished product. They were never an excellent alternative as some products made from the material could smell, or not preform as effectively. However, newer technologies have made the material more reliable and the process more cost effective for companies to consider the change.

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Though, Lego can’t simply run in to start manufacturing their products with the material. The bricks have to contain the same aspects as they would if they were made from a traditional plastic, like some of the bricks have to have a strong, reliable structure to support other bricks stacking on top of them while others may need to feel soft and firm to a person’s touch. When the new bricks feel like the old ones, the manufacturing method will have to include a higher end of customization as Lego makes a wide range of diverse bricks and some kits need special ones made.

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Outside of their own manufacturing process, Lego have invested to Burbo Bank Extension, a wind farm company based in the United Kingdom. The investments started in 2012, and have totaled up to $940 million. Using these investments the energy the the wind farm produces now surpasses the amount Lego’s buildings use worldwide, hitting their target of utilizing 100 percent renewable energy. Lego had planned to make this transition by 2020, but met their goal early and to celebrate they created a 30 foot tall wind turbine made out of 146,000 Lego blocks.

Lego have no idea when they will find a suitable bioplastic alternative, but they continue to experiment and find the most sustainable way for everyone to enjoy their building blocks.

Lego

When discussing aletrnatives to plastics, it’s not often that the building block we played with as a kid comes to mind: lego. Not only were these popular plastic construction blocks perfect for children to explore their imagination, but now the company wants to use more sustainable practices to lessen their carbon footprint in the world. Lego has made great strides forward from starting to investigate how they can transition from traditional plastics to bioplastics in their blocks to investing in wind energy farms in Europe.

+Bioplastic
+children
+Europe
+financial services
+Lego
+retail
+Sustainability
+Sustainability
+toy
+wind energy

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