Waste Transfer Notes
Toy bricks

Lego has vowed that its bricks will no longer be made from plastic by 2030.

Lego System A/S is a Danish toy manufacturer based in Billund, Denmark. It is best known for the manufacture of Lego-brand toys, consisting mostly of interlocking plastic bricks.

They are investing £310 million in efforts to create its colourful bricks using sustainable materials, but its mission to find an alternative to oil-based plastic has been a challenge.

For five years, a team of more than 150 engineers and scientists have been testing many different plant-based and recycled materials - but making sure the bricks can stick together while coming apart easily has been a challenge.

Lego executive Tim Brooks said the company has been testing how to use bio-polyethylene, a type of plastic made from ethanol that's produced using sugarcane, for its hard bricks.

But early prototypes didn't go well - and some of them had to be taken apart using pliers and wrenches.

"The difficulty is getting to where the bricks have the same colour, the same shine, the same sound," Mr Brooks added.

In 2015, the company had announced a £116m investment into using sustainable materials for its products, and estimates suggest Lego uses 90,000 tonnes of plastic in its products each year.

Lego has also announced that it's going to ditch plastic bags in its boxed sets, which are currently used to hold loose bricks.

It has made the decision after receiving letters from children who were concerned about their environmental impact.

From next year, they'll be phased out in favour of paper bags - and the company expects to fully complete the switch by 2025.

"We have been exploring alternatives for some time and the passion and ideas from children inspired us to begin to make the change" chief executive Niels B Christiansen said.

The company says the paper bags will be recyclable and are easier for children to open.

The Lego plans for the environment include:

• Carbon neutral manufacturing operations by the end of 2022 and continuing to be 100% balanced by renewable energy in all territories in which we operate. This will involve investing in efficiency measures to lower energy use and carbon emission output per LEGO brick produced.

• Launch LEGO Replay in two more countries by the end of 2022. The LEGO Group will also work with the Ellen Macarthur Foundation network as part of efforts to design more circular products and packaging.

• No waste to reach landfill by end of 2025. This will be achieved by reducing the waste produced as part of the LEGO Group’s manufacturing operations. The LEGO Group sends 93% of all factory waste to be recycled, including 100% of plastic waste from our moulding machines, some of which is reused in our own manufacturing(5).

• 2025 ambition to make all packaging 100% sustainable, including removing single-use plastic in all our products, packaging and operations. This will include banning single-use plastic from all offices, factories and stores.

• 2030 ambition to have all products made from sustainable materials.

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