Our ambition is to make LEGO bricks from sustainable sources by 2030 without compromising quality or safety. This a bold ambition as it requires creating entirely new materials. For the LEGO Group, a sustainable material must be responsibly produced, using renewable or recycled resources, generating little or no waste, use sustainable chemistry and be fully recyclable at the end of its life, while meeting our high standards for safety, quality and durability. We are joining forces with suppliers, research institutions and other industries to develop these new materials for LEGO bricks of the future.
In 2018, we started making a range of sustainable LEGO elements from sugarcane to create polyethylene, a soft, durable and flexible plastic. Sugarcane grows at the same rate as we use it, is sourced sustainably using guidance from our partner WWF and doesn’t compromise food security. Because we want our products to be durable and safe for generations of children, this plant-based plastic is not biodegradable.
We work with our sugarcane suppliers to ensure we meet the Responsible Ethanol Sourcing Framework which is based on best practices. Our sugarcane is also certified by third-party standards and is third-party audited. It seemed only natural to make ‘botanical’ elements first, so we made leaves, bushes and trees – plants from plants!
More than 80 LEGO elements are made from sustainably sourced polyethylene. Although these represent just 2% of the 3,600 elements available for designers, it is the first important step out of many on the journey towards using sustainable materials by 2030. We are continuing to experiment with many different materials as we expect the LEGO bricks of the future could be made from both plant-based and recycled sources.
Since we launched plant-based bricks, they have been included in more and more LEGO sets. For example, the LEGO Ideas Tree House, a concept devised by a LEGO fan, contains 185 sustainable bricks including the treetop canopy, which has interchangeable sets of green summer leaf elements and yellow and brown fall leaf elements.