In a move to decrease its carbon footprint, Lego has announced that it is using sustainable plant-based sources to create new bricks.
Production has started on the new sustainable range, using sugarcane to produce Lego’s ‘botanic pieces’ including leaves, bushes and trees.
“At the LEGO Group we want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and are working hard to make great play products for children using sustainable materials. We are proud that the first LEGO elements made from sustainably sourced plastic are in production and will be in LEGO boxes this year.
"This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials,” said Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group.
The botanical pieces represent only 1-2 per cent of the 19 billion bricks Lego produces each year, but Lego has pledged to produce all of its products and packaging using sustainable materials by 2030.
The new sustainable pieces will be identical to the old petroleum-based plastic bricks.
“LEGO products have always been about providing high quality play experiences giving every child the chance to shape their own world through inventive play.
"Children and parents will not notice any difference in the quality or appearance of the new elements, because plant-based polyethylene has the same properties as conventional polyethylene,” said Tim Brooks.
Stephen Mayfield, a molecular biologist at UC San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, told Mashable that Lego's move is a step in the right direction.
"You’ll find haters, but it's way better than petroleum — so these people should be applauded for doing this," Mayfield said of sugarcane-based plastics. He has no affiliation with Lego.
"It’s not the final solution," said Mayfield. "But if we wait for the final solution we’ll never do anything."