LEGO is setting the pace among large companies and going green with its play pieces this year. The Danish company has announced that it is releasing a line of its famous building kits that will be made from materials that are 100% plant-based. The bioplastic will be sourced from sugarcane that’s harvested in Brazil, and it should start appearing in the LEGO kits sometime in 2018. At the initial phase, LEGO will be using he bioplastic material in pieces that represent trees and plants. Eventually, LEGO hopes to use the more environmentally friendly material in all of its pieces.
The move has been long coming—LEGO originally announced its plans to use a sustainable material three years ago. It was unknown at that time that it would eventually land on the sugarcane product, but they knew they wanted something that had a much smaller impact on fossil fuel consumption, and the ball had certainly begun to roll.
The new plant-based material is soft and durable—both characteristics of traditional LEGO pieces. The company is confident that children will get the same quality play experiences they’ve always had without giving up on the look or feel of the traditional LEGO kits.
Some environmentalists will argue that while the move is a reduction in fossil fuel consumption, the new pieces are still made of plastic, and there’s concern that acres of rainforest may be cleared for planting the sugarcane used in the creation of the materials. Still, the science proves that this move by LEGO is far better for the environment than using petroleum-based products (it reduces carbon footprint by about 70 percent), and ultimately LEGO deserves a pat on the back.
One other ecological benefit of LEGO kits to consider is that they’ve virtually indestructible and they’ll last a long time. In fact, many families have kids building forts and robots with pieces that have been handed down for at least a couple of generations.
So it’s true, the new pieces will still be made of plastic, but you can’t deny that it’s a better plastic, and eventually, the material will be used in the majority of the products LEGO makes, as opposed to just the “botanical” pieces. LEGO’s goal is to use 100% sustainable materials in all products by 2030.