LEGO is one of the biggest companies in the world – and the biggest toy manufacturer in the world! It began manufacturing its plastic bricks in 1949 and as of 2015, the company produced over 600 billion Lego parts. As you can imagine, that is an enourmous amount of plastic and that does not take in consideration the last 8 years plus faulty and discarded Lego parts which leaves the question – what are ways Lego is trying to minimase waste and be more sustainable?
"We want to play our part in building a sustainable future and making a positive impact on the planet our children will inherit"
LEGO Replay is one of the ways LEGO is using to be more sustainable as a company. It allows to donate the bricks that the customers don’t use or need anymore. Because LEGO Bricks can used in hundreds of ways, it allows anyone to use it do their own creations. So far LEGO received over 127,000 boxes of donations to the program and more than 224,000 children were given the bricks. This is a good way towards the conservation of the environment; LEGO bricks aren’t thrown away but reused which minimises demand of plastic production, conserving valuable resources and decreasing the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing new bricks. Moreover, LEGO believes in the children being our future and cultivates their creativity as well as develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities. This focus on education and play contributes to a more sustainable future by nurturing a generation of environmentally conscious individuals who are likely to apply sustainable practices in various aspects of their lives.
LEGO aims to make their bricks from sustainable sources without compromising the quality and safety of each.
One of the ways is to use recycled materials such as plastic. It is still in the testing phase however, the company is working on creating a prototype brick using recycled plastic bottles. They are partnered with companies that source the bottles made from PET plastic and they go into different stages were the prototype is tested for safely and durability. Right now, LEGO is researching how to colour the bricks. The use of recycled materials side with the principles of a circular economy, where resources are kept in use for as long as possible. By incorporating recycled plastic into their bricks, LEGO displays a commitment to closing the loop in their production cycle, promoting the reuse and repurposing of materials instead of relying solely on finite resources. Furthermore, this initiative highlights the importance of innovation in sustainable manufacturing practices. By investing in research and development to create a prototype brick using recycled plastic, LEGO proves their commitment to quality and safety while exploring new avenues for environmentally friendly production.
The company has also identified another problem they face during production: their packaging. Even though the bricks are made of plastic, they get passed down to family and friends. However, the packaging gets disposed of straight away which is not sustainable. Their aim is to make all of their packaging sustainable by the end of 2025.
Some of the ways of sustainability has been to make the set boxes with 75% recycled paper and cardboard. They are also switching the single use plastic to paper bags in the LEGO boxes and have stopped manufacturing packaging with single use plastic blisters.
Zero Waste to Landfill
The company has implemented several strategies and initiatives aimed at minimizing waste throughout their production processes and operations. In 2022, they achieved the goal of less than 1% of their waste from factories going in landfill. This means that all their waste that is produced gets reused, recycled, or composted. In their Sustainability Progress 2022 report, there is a graph that shows the development of the waste between 2018 and 2022; the company had an incredible reduction in waste, going from 557 tons to 16 tons. They are now aiming at a target or zero waste to landfill from factories as well as offices and stores by 2025.
By focusing on waste reduction, recycling, responsible sourcing, and innovation, LEGO sets a high standard for the toy industry and inspires other companies to prioritize waste management and work towards a more sustainable future. Their efforts contribute to a circular economy model, where resources are kept in use for as long as possible, minimizing waste and promoting long-term environmental stewardship.