A new prototype brick made of recycled plastic is being developed by the LEGO group. To create LEGO’s first brick from recycled materials, the new prototype uses PET (polyethylene triterephthalate).
Three years have passed since the development began. Engineers and scientists tested more than 250 PET formulations and hundreds of other materials. While a prototype is now in production, further development and testing will be required, before it can be used for commercial purposes. It is expected that the next phase of testing will take approximately one year.
“We are very excited about this breakthrough,” Tim Brooks (Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at LEGO group). “The greatest challenge on our sustainability path is rethinking, innovating new materials that can be as durable, strong, and high-quality as our existing bricks — and compatible with LEGO elements from the past 60 years. We are able to show the progress we have made with this prototype.
LEGO’s latest innovation in making sustainable products is the new prototype brick. In 2020, stated that it would start removing single-use plastic boxes from its shelves. Apart from the lego bricks the company started making elements out of bio-polyethylene. This material is used for soft pieces like trees, branches and minifigures.
Lego stated last year that it would invest $400million over three years in sustainable materials to increase efforts and to replace plastic bricks by ones made of sustainable materials by the end if the decade.
Lego applied for patents on their mix of recycled plastic bottles with a strengthening ingredient. The bricks are currently slightly grey in colour, but Lego is working on improving the bricks’ grip and material colour.
The company anticipates bringing the 2×2 and 2×4 prototype bricks to market within 18 to 24 months. They will also continue testing the material on different brick types.
Mattel, the rival toy manufacturer, is best-known for making Barbie dolls. In 2019, it announced that it would begin producing plastic toys using recycled, recyclable, or bio-mass materials from 2030.