LEGO at Cultura
25/09/2023 - 10:45 Lego news

raw material

Remember, in June 2021, LEGO loudly asserted that it had succeeded in producing a brick based on recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and then indicated that this prototype offered a priori the level of quality and safety required by the manufacturer and that a one-liter bottle in RPET (for Recycled PET) would make it possible to produce around ten classic LEGO 2x4 bricks. It will not happen.

It's today via an interview given to the Financial Times that the CEO of the LEGO group, Niels B. Christiansen, confirms that the manufacturer is definitively abandoning this idea which could have seemed promising and this for a very specific reason: The use of RPET for the manufacture of LEGO bricks would imply a carbon footprint greater than that generated by the use of petroleum products to manufacture ABS plastic (2kg of petroleum to manufacture 1kg of ABS plastic).

Niels B. Christiansen confirms that the process of finding a new material for LEGO bricks initially seemed promising, but after testing hundreds of possible combinations, it was now clear: the "magic" material does not exist.

In all cases, RPET does not offer the same technical and mechanical properties as ABS and its use would imply the addition of additional components allowing it to achieve the level of quality and reliability required by LEGO at the price of a enormous energy expenditure linked to its manufacture and drying. And that's without mentioning the in-depth modification of the manufacturer's industrial tools necessary for its factories to be able to produce this new material. All of these findings have definitely discouraged LEGO from continuing down this path with a higher carbon footprint than current production.

lego recycled pet bricks 2030

The path mentioned is therefore now that of continuity, by retaining ABS plastic as the central material of production, and by gradually integrating a percentage of bio-materials and/or recycled materials. The group's CEO confirms that the amount of investments linked to research in sustainable development will be tripled by 2025 with an expected significant impact on the margins generated, knowing that LEGO will not be able to decently pass on all of these costs to the selling prices of its products.

LEGO will also have to use other levers to make its products more "sustainable" in the minds of consumers and it will then be a question of strengthening marketing around the possibility of transmitting, donating, reusing and recycling LEGO bricks already in use. traffic. THE LEGO Replay program, already active in the USA and Canada with an active recovery of unused bricks which are then donated to charitable structures, will arrive in Europe next year. LEGO also mentions the potential launch in the coming years of a commercial offer to take back unused bricks for its customers so that these elements can be reinjected into new sets.

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