The LEGO Group created a prototype brick made from recycled plastics in an effort to become more sustainable in the future. The company put together a team of more than 150 employees tasked to find a more sustainable solution for its building blocks and came up with using PET plastic from discarded bottles.
Over the past three years, the team of material scientists and engineers tested more than 250 variations of PET materials before coming up with the LEGO brick prototype that met the Danish company’s safety, quality and play requirements.
“We are super excited about this breakthrough. The biggest challenge on our sustainability journey is rethinking and innovating new materials that are as durable, strong and high quality as our existing bricks—and fit with LEGO elements made over the past 60 years,” Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility of LEGO, said.
The prototype brick is made from recycled PET sourced from U.S. suppliers and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). According to the company, a one-liter plastic PET bottle can be transformed into more than 10 small-sized LEGO bricks.
But the new prototype won’t be in stores anytime soon. The LEGO Group said the next step in their research and development is estimated to take up to a year to complete, but a patent is pending for the new, more sustainable brick.
“Even though it will be a while before they will be able to play with bricks made from recycled plastic, we want to let kids know we’re working on it and bring them along on the journey with us,” Brooks said.