After previously announcing that it would be pivoting to recycled plastic bottles to make bricks, Lego is now walking back on that promise. The toy manufacturer has given up on its plan to use recycled bottles, claiming that the plastic wasn’t sustainable enough.
As CBS News reports, Lego said that it “decided not to progress” with the bricks after it “found the material didn’t reduce carbon emissions,” quoting a statement from the company. Lego initially revealed in 2021 its first brick made from plastic bottles consisting of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. While recycling bottles into Lego bricks might have been a bust, the company is reportedly still interested in transitioning to other sustainable solutions. The company told Gizmodo in an email that it was looking to make its bricks from sustainable materials by 2032—whatever that means.
“We have decided not to progress making bricks from recycled PET after more than two years of testing as we found the material didn’t reduce carbon emissions,” a spokesperson for Lego Group told Gizmodo in an email. “We are currently testing and developing LEGO bricks made from a range of alternative sustainable materials, including other recycled plastics and plastics made from alternative sources such as e-methanol.”
The recycled bricks were made with plastic from U.S. suppliers approved by the Food and Drug Administration as well as the European Food Safety Authority. Through Lego’s manufacturing process, a single one-liter bottle could produce ten 2×4 Lego bricks. The company tested around 250 variations of PET materials before settling on the final brick formulation.
Lego’s foray into sustainable bricks did not begin in 2021, however. In 2018, the toy company announced that it had begun a production line using sugarcane. While sugarcane is a more sustainable option than plastic, which is created as a byproduct of sucking oil out of the ground, the new bioplastic was softer and more flexible than its counterpart. As a result, Lego has only been using sugarcane plastic in its line of plant-shaped bricks.
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