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LEGO for phasing out disposable plastic packaging

The Danish toymaker said in a statement on Tuesday that the new bags are starting to appear in LEGO boxes starting in 2021, as part of a $ 400 million investment in sustainability initiatives over the next three years. The bags have been under development for the last two years.

“We receive many letters from children asking why we still use disposable plastic in our boxes, which inspired us to start making this change,” said Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility at LEGO. “This is part of our ambition to make all our packaging sustainable by the end of 2025,” he added.

The LEGO group, which has benefited from an increase in sales during lockdowns as more people of all ages bought sets, uses around 5,000 tonnes of plastic a year to wrap its products and accounts for 1
0% of the total packaging. A much bigger problem is the LEGO pieces themselves, which require 90,000 tons of plastic per year to manufacture.
LEGO has been working for years to develop alternatives to oil-based plastics that can be used in its blocks. Progress has been made, but the vast majority of the individual pieces are still made with plastic.

Sustainably produced LEGO bricks must be as safe, durable and technically sound as the plastic range with identical color fastness and compatibility with older bricks, Brooks told CNN Business.

Pieces must be strong enough to click together and keep elaborate structures in place, such as this £ 350 ($ 450) Hogwarts castle, while being light enough for a child to pull apart, he added.
Finding environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic, which is a major polluter of oceans and water sources, is crucial to tackling the world’s climate change because it will help tackle greenhouse gas emissions from the production of goods we use every day, such as cars, clothes and food. A study in the journal Science, published in July, showed that even if the world cut plastic pollution 80% by 2040, there would still be about 710 million tons of plastic waste polluting the environment.
The world wants 710 million.  Tons of plastic pollution by 2040 despite efforts to cut waste, the study says
But for many companies, it is difficult to find suitable replacements. E.g, Nestle (NSRGY), which used 1.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging last year, said in January that they plan to pay more for recycled materials to encourage new suppliers to enter the market for used plastic suitable for food packaging.

LEGO said Tuesday that they are working with research institutes and other companies to find materials that are as durable and of high quality as plastic.

The company aims to produce all of its products from sustainable materials by 2030 and said it will increase the use of “biostones”, such as those made from plant-based materials such as sugar cane, which currently accounts for about 80 of its 3,600 pieces, or approx. 2%.

“We’re in a plastic pollution crisis and all businesses need to reduce their plastic consumption,” said Emma Priestland, global business campaign coordinator at Break Free From Plastic, a global lobby group whose members include Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.

“While it’s great to see a company facing the damage caused by disposable and actionable plastic packaging, LEGO’s entire business is plastic – so they have to go the extra mile to be truly sustainable,” Priestland added.

LEGO said it will expand LEGO Replay, which will allow customers to donate used bricks to children in need, to Canada and another country beyond the United States by the end of 2022. Nearly all customers surveyed by the company prefer to stick to their LEGO sets or pass them on themselves, according to Brooks, who said bricks made today still fit those made four decades ago.

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