The LEGO Company’s products are built on oil.
Made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, LEGO bricks are a ‘virgin’ plastic; non-biodegradable, and crude oil based.
Of course this longevity means that LEGO bricks can be passed on to the next generation, an antidote to the mountains of disposable single-use toys cluttering up the world’s landfills, but the crude oil problem still looms.
LEGO are all too aware of this, having pledged to create bricks from sustainable materials that can continue to be passed down the generations. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) looked a promising solution; reusing the millions of single-use plastic bottles (that invariably end up in our oceans) to create LEGO pieces.
Unfortunately, following two years of testing, LEGO have scrapped the project, after discovering that using recycled PET bottles didn’t reduce carbon emissions.
The cause was the extra energy required to turn a recycled bottle into a LEGO brick, and thus the company has “decided not to progress” with making pieces from PET.
And we think they should be applauded. So many companies would have proceeded, doubtless with an immense PR fanfare, claiming the development meant their products were ‘good for the environment’, despite knowing the truth to be rather different. In the age of egregious green-washing, The LEGO Company have done what is right, not what looks to be.
LEGO remain committed to producing bricks from sustainable materials by 2032, and when they do we’ll be rather more sure of their environmental claims than we are of most.