The new prototype, which uses PET plastic from discarded bottles, is the first brick made from a recycled material to meet the company’s strict quality and safety requirements. The prototype is made from recycled PET sourced from suppliers in the United States that use US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved processes to ensure quality.
On average, a one-litre plastic PET bottle provides enough raw material for ten 2 x 4 LEGO bricks. The patent-pending material formulation increases the durability of PET to make it strong enough for LEGO bricks. The innovative process uses a bespoke compounding technology to combine the recycled PET with strengthening additives.
It will be some time before bricks made from a recycled material appear in LEGO product boxes. The team will continue testing and developing the PET formulation and then assess whether to move to the pilot production phase. This next phase of testing is expected to take at least a year.
Vice president of environmental responsibility at the LEGO Group, Tim Brooks said: “We know kids care about the environment and want us to make our products more sustainable. Even though it will be a while before they will be able to play with bricks made from recycled plastic, we want to let kids know we’re working on it and bring them along on the journey with us. Experimentation and failing is an important part of learning and innovation. Just as kids build, unbuild and rebuild with LEGO bricks at home, we’re doing the same in our lab.”