"This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials."
Even with a subject as complex as sustainability, learning about it is easier when it’s fun. It’s not always about classrooms; play is also a great way of teaching people important messages in a subtle way that can inform and even change future behaviour. That outlook is one that’s shared by the manufacturer of the world-famous miniature building blocks, Lego, which has released a line of products made entirely from bio-based materials, teaching its primarily young audience about sustainable plastic while they build.
Called Botanical Elements, the range of miniature leaves, bushes and trees have been billed by Lego as the “first step” in its mission to use sustainable materials in all of its building blocks, core products and packaging by 2030. The new products, which will be available this year, are made from plant-based polyethylene that is derived from sugarcane.
Though only accounting for between 1% and 2% of its total output, the Elements range is just the beginning of Lego’s plans for plant-based production: it intends that every one of its products will use sustainable materials by 2030.
Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility at Lego Group, which in 2016 alone In sold 75 billion building blocks, said the company wanted to make a positive impact on the world around us. “We are proud that the first Lego elements made from sustainably sourced plastic are in production and will be in Lego boxes this year. This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials.”
Brooks spoke with Bio-Based World News last year about how it believes that younger children are an easier audience to engage with about sustainability concerns. “I guess the obvious answer would be to sell wind turbine sets and recycling trucks, but at the end of the day kids just want to play rather than being forced to play something," he said.
The Elements range isn’t Lego’s only commitment to sustainable plastic. The Danish company has partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to support and build demand for sustainably-sourced plastic and has also joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), an initiative of WWF, to secure fully sustainable sourcing of raw material for the bioplastics industry.
Offering a more detailed look into Lego’s sustainability efforts, Soren Kristiansen, senior technology director of materials at Lego, will be speaking at this year’s World Bio Markets in Amsterdam on 22nd-23rd March. Kristiansen will join 1,000 speakers and more than 25 exhibitors for the three-day show.
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