LEGO Just Designed Its First Brick Made From Recycled Plastic

published Jun 28, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Lego

It took three years, over 250 variations, and a team of 150 designers and engineers, but LEGO has finally debuted its first prototype brick made entirely from recycled plastic bottles. The brand new brick, built from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, is the first of many test designs to meet the company’s quality, safety, and play requirements.

“Drum roll please…” LEGO announced in a June 22 Instagram post, “We’re now using plastic bottles to make prototype LEGO bricks! This is a big step towards our commitment to make all our products from sustainable sources by 2030.”

According to DesignBoom, the recycled plastic LEGO brick won’t appear in product boxes quite yet. This prototype still has to go through various tests to ensure the PET formulation — a mix of recycled PET and strengthening additives — holds up before entering the pilot production phase, which will likely take up to a year.

However, the specs look good so far. The company says that, on average, a one-liter PET bottle (which the company is currently sourcing from FDA- and EFSA-approved suppliers), provides enough raw material to make ten 2-inch by 4-inch LEGO bricks.

“We are super excited about this breakthrough,” Tim Brooks, Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO company, said, per DesignBoom. “The biggest challenge on our sustainability journey is rethinking and innovating new materials that are as durable, strong and high quality as our existing bricks — and fit with LEGO elements made over the past 60 years. With this prototype we’re able to showcase the progress we’re making.”

Since 2018, LEGO has been making small changes to their toys and packaging to increase their sustainability. The company first began producing products using bio-polyethylene (bio-PE) from sustainably-sourced sugarcane in 2018, and in 2020, LEGO said they will stop using single-use plastic in packaging. The goal now is to be completely sustainable by 2030 — and this recycled PET brick is a huge step forward toward that goal post.