Lego remakes toy bricks quietly and unobtrusively.
It wants to get away from petroleum-based bricks.
And replace them with plant-based bricks.
It’s all part and parcel of companies being concerned about the impact of plastic waste on the environment.
The Danish toy maker has relied on oil-based plastics for 57 years to produce 60 billion Lego bricks each year.
By 2030, Lego bricks will no longer be made from ABS, the oil-based plastic.
Lego wants to remake its plastic bricks by 2030.
Finding alternatives is a vast project.
And the process is costly.
Lego has hired 100 people and has a budget of close to $158 million to try to make it happen.
And all sorts of new methods and systems are being tried.
“We look at how does it look, and how does it feel,” said Nelleke van der Puil, Lego’s vice president for materials.
So far company staff has experimented with 200 different substances.
Most test materials, both bio-based and recycled, have so far fallen short.
The challenge is designing blocks that click together yet separate easily.
They also need to retain their bright colors.
And survive the rigors of being put through a laundry load or the weight of an unknowing parent’s foot.
Lego Remakes Toy Bricks Quietly
In short, the company wants to switch the ingredients but keep the product exactly the same.
The Danish family owned company hopes the changes will be completed in less than 10 years.
Today virtually all the world’s plastic is created from petroleum.
From petroleum a substance ABS is created.
It is short for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.
It’s a common plastic used for computer keys, mobile phone cases and Lego bricks.
It’s tough, yet slightly elastic, and also has a polished surface.
And that is the challenge facing Lego’s experts reproducing those qualities in an eco-friendly way.
Get the inside track how Lego is changing its toys one step at a time.