LEGO Finds a New & Innovative Way to Make its Bricks

The new prototype was recently unveiled!

Jul 7, 2021

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LEGOS, Recycling
LEGO Finds a New & Innovative Way to Make its Bricks | The new prototype was recently unveiled!

A new type of LEGO brick just rolled off the assembly line in Denmark, and it's made out of plastic bottles. Fashioned from recycled PET plastic, the new prototype is part of the company's journey to become more sustainable.

The LEGO Group announced in a June 23, 2021 press release that the new material is the first to meet the company's standards for quality and safety. Over the past three years, a team of materials scientists and engineers tested over 250 variations of PET materials and the new prototype is the result.

Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group, Tim Brooks said in the press release: “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. With this prototype we’re able to showcase the progress we’re making.”

Just one plastic one-liter bottle can be recycled into the material needed for 10 standard two-by-four LEGO bricks. The PET material from the bottles have been reformulated by the LEGO research team to make it more heavy-duty and long-lasting so it meets LEGO's standards.

“Most existing recycled materials don’t meet these criteria. We either can’t use them or need to modify the material to ensure it fits the safety and quality requirements for LEGO products —essentially, we need to find entirely new materials for our products,” Brooks said.

The bricks have to be able to be snapped together and pulled apart easily while retaining their shape, according to Fast Company. And they need to be an even color with the right shine. According to Brooks, that was a lot to replicate.  

The new bricks will undergo more testing for another year before the project moves into the pilot production stage. But it will be a while before the new recycled bricks make it into stores. After all, it has to hold up for countless play hours as well as fit with the existing bricks.

The new bricks are a big development in making the LEGO Group more sustainable, but they are only one of the sustainability initiatives that the group is working on. The company announced in 2020 that it would remove single-use plastics from all its products. LEGO also achieved its 100 percent renewable energy goal, three years ahead of schedule.

There is a brick recycling program where old bricks can be sent back to the company to be cleaned, repackaged and donated to charities to be re-played by children in the Teach for America program.

“We’re committed to playing our part in building a sustainable future for generations of children. We want our products to have a positive impact on the planet, not just with the play they inspire, but also with the materials we use. We still have a long way to go on our journey but are pleased with the progress we’re making,” Brooks said in the press release.

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Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.