Lego drops plan for bricks from recycled bottles

The toy manufacturer has abandoned its project to create bricks from recycled plastic bottles, citing concerns that it would result in higher carbon emissions compared to traditional oil-based plastic

Toy manufacturer Lego has decided to halt its ambitious project of creating bricks from recycled plastic bottles due to concerns over potential higher carbon dioxide emissions.

The company’s decision was prompted by the realisation that this environmentally-friendly initiative would have a larger carbon footprint over the life cycle of the product.

The move, initially reported by the Financial Times, represents a significant step back for Lego in its ongoing efforts to explore more sustainable materials.

Like many other companies, Lego has been reevaluating its environmental impact in response to the growing climate crisis.

Lego, renowned for producing billions of plastic bricks annually, initiated research in 2021 into using recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as an alternative to acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is derived from petroleum and constitutes about 80% of Lego’s bricks.

ABS requires approximately two kilogrammes of petroleum to produce 1 kilogramme of plastic.

Tim Brooks, Lego’s Head of Sustainability, likened the shift to using non-oil-based materials to attempting to construct a wooden bicycle instead of one made of steel.

Mr Brooks highlighted the substantial challenges in adapting Lego’s manufacturing processes to scale up the use of recycled PET.

Tim Brooks explained that this endeavour would have necessitated a complete overhaul of their factories.

In the end, the projected carbon footprint would have exceeded that of their current production methods, making the project unfeasible.

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