- By Noor Nanji
- Business Correspondent, BBC News
In a blow to its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, toy giant Lego has scrapped plans to make bricks from recycled bottles.
By 2021, the company said it aims to produce crude oil-free bricks within two years.
But on Monday, it found that using the new material failed to reduce carbon emissions.
Lego said it was “absolutely committed” to making bricks from sustainable materials.
Currently, many of Lego’s bricks are made using the virgin plastic acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is made from crude oil.
This move was first announced Financial TimesIt will be seen as a setback after Lego’s high-profile push to improve its green credentials.
Like many companies, Lego is exploring alternatives to plastic because sustainability is so important to customers.
One of the challenges is finding a product that will last for generations.
In 2021, it said it had developed prototype bricks made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, with some other chemicals added.
The hope is that the material could have provided an alternative to oil-based bricks.
But after more than two years of testing, Lego has now revealed that using recycled PET has not been able to reduce carbon emissions.
That’s because it requires more steps in the manufacturing process, which means more energy is used.
As a result, it said it had decided “not to progress” in making bricks from the material.
It said it is currently testing and developing bricks made from “a range of alternative sustainable materials”.
Lego chief executive Niels Christiansen told the FT there was no “magic ingredient” to solve the company’s sustainability challenges.
“We tested hundreds and hundreds of items. We couldn’t find one like it,” he said.
A spokesperson for the company told the BBC: “We are fully committed to making Lego bricks from sustainable materials by 2032.
“We are investing more than $1.2bn over the four years to 2025 as part of our efforts to shift to more sustainable materials and reduce our carbon emissions by 37% by 2032.”