LEGO® engineers and designers overcome challenges to roll out more sustainable packaging solutions.
- The LEGO Group is committed to making all packaging more sustainable by 2025. Currently 93% of packaging by weight is made from paper, cardboard, and other paper-based materials making the vast majority of LEGO packaging recyclable
- Work now well underway to replace single-use plastic pre-pack bags in LEGO boxes with paper-based ones
- New bags made with paper from Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®C117818) certified forests and FSC-controlled wood
- Transition happening now in factories in Europe and Asia with Americas starting next year
BILLUND, November 21, 2023: The LEGO Group aims to make all its packaging from more sustainable materials. As part of this ambition, the company is phasing out single-use plastic in LEGO boxes and replacing plastic pre-pack bags with new bags made with paper from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests and FSC-controlled wood.
The rollout of the new paper-based bags, which are verified as recyclable in the European Union, United States and Canada, started in Europe and Asia this year and will continue into 2024 when the rollout across the Americas markets will also start.
Tim Brooks, VP of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group, said: “The transition to paper-based bags is a significant milestone in the LEGO Group’s sustainable materials journey. Phasing out single-use plastic from our products has been very important to us as this material is rarely recycled, unlike paper-based bags. We committed to doing this three years ago and have faced a number of technical challenges to find a bag that would not compromise the high standards LEGO fans expect from us. It’s been a true team effort to arrive at this exciting moment and we’re very proud to see the paper-based bag rollout gain real momentum.”
A challenge for the LEGO operations team
Work on the transition from single-use plastic to paper-based materials began in 2022 with a team of designers and engineers working together to create a bag that would meet the LEGO brand’s quality standards and support a great building experience for LEGO fans. Pre-pack bags are an important part of the LEGO building process as they are used to package together loose bricks and are printed with numbers to indicate sequence, so the bags must not tear during shipping.
The paper also needs to be able to withstand the manufacturing process in all our factories. Paper is more sensitive than plastic to changes in humidity and weather and it has been important to find a bag that can be made and used in all our factories, whether they are located in a hot, humid climate or a colder one.
Around 70 different papers and formats were tested in the quest to get the new bags just right and the team’s amazing work is now rolling off production lines at factories in the Czech Republic, Hungary and China.
Tim Brooks continues: “More than 350 LEGO colleagues came together to solve this important challenge and what they have achieved is incredible. It has not been easy to balance the importance of the building experience, the quality of the product and the engineering and production challenges with the urgent need to be more sustainable. We look forward to hearing what our fans think when they open their first paper-based pre-pack bag.”
Come behind the scenes to see the paper-based bags on our production lines below.
New packaging for Pick a Brick and Collectible Minifigures
Pick & Build walls in LEGO Retail Stores will also offer paper-based containers as flat-pack, quick assembly cardboard boxes are replacing plastic cups. The new boxes take up less than half of the space of the old container, meaning they are easier and more efficient to store and ship. The new format is being phased in across European and North American markets during the remainder of 2023 with South American and Asian markets to follow in 2024.
Similarly, the packaging for all LEGO® Minifigures collectibles has been switched from single-use plastic to recyclable cardboard boxes. The global rollout of the new boxes began in August and will help the LEGO Group save approximately 30 tons of single-use plastic annually (based on 2022 sales figures).
In September, the LEGO Group announced plans to triple its investment in environmental sustainability, spending more than $1.4 billion on sustainability-related activities over the next three years. The expansion of in-box paper-based bags, Pick a Brick and LEGO® Minifigures collectibles cardboard boxes are all important milestones in the LEGO Group’s ambition to reduce its environmental impact.
The bags are made out of 95% paper with the remainder being a thin plastic coating, which purpose is to protect the LEGO® elements from puncturing the bag as well as gluing the bag together.
The bags are widely recyclable in countries where paper-recycling infrastructure exists and has been verified by external labs in EU, US, and Canada.
About the LEGO Group
The LEGO Group’s mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through the power of play. The LEGO System in Play, with its foundation in LEGO bricks, allows children and fans to build and rebuild anything they can imagine. The LEGO Group was founded in Billund, Denmark in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, its name derived from the two Danish words Leg Godt, which mean “Play Well”. Today, the LEGO Group remains a family-owned company headquartered in Billund. Its products are now sold in more than 130 countries worldwide. For more information: www.LEGO.com