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LEGO will eliminate single-use plastic packaging

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The Danish toy maker said in a statement on Tuesday that the new bags would start to appear in LEGO boxes from 2021, as part of a $ 400 million investment in sustainability initiatives over the next three years. The bags have been in development for two years.

“We get a lot of letters from kids asking why we still use single-use plastic in our boxes, which prompted us to start making this change,” said Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility at Lego. “It is part of our ambition to make all our packaging sustainable by the end of 2025,” he added.

The LEGO group, which benefited from a surging sales during lockdowns, as more and more people of all ages have purchased sets, uses around 5,000 tons of plastic per year to package its products, which is 10% of its total packaging. A much bigger problem is the LEGO parts themselves, which require 90,000 tonnes of plastic per year.
Lego was working for years develop alternatives to petroleum-based plastic that can be used in its blocks. Progress has been made, but the vast majority of individual parts are still made of plastic.

Sustainably produced LEGO bricks should be as safe, durable and technically strong as the plastic variety, with identical color fastness and compatibility with older bricks, Brooks told CNN Business.

The parts must be strong enough to Click on together and hold elaborate structures in place, like this one 350 ($ 450) Hogwarts Castle, while still being quite easy for a child to separate, he added.
Finding environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic, which is a major polluter of oceans and water sources, is vital in tackling the climate emergency because it will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production of goods that we use every day, such as cars, clothing and food. A study in the journal Science published in July found that even if the world reduced plastic pollution by 80% by 2040, there would still be around 710 million tonnes of plastic waste contaminating the environment.
The world will have 710 million tonnes of plastic pollution by 2040 despite efforts to reduce waste, study finds
But for many companies, finding suitable replacements is difficult. For example, Nestl (NSRGY), which used 1.5 million metric tonnes of plastic packaging last year, said in January that it plan to pay more for recycled materials to encourage new suppliers to enter the used plastics market suitable for food packaging.

LEGO said on Tuesday it was working with research institutes and other companies to find materials as durable and high-quality as plastic.

The company aims to make all of its products from sustainable materials by 2030 and has said it will increase its use of “organic bricks,” such as those made from plant-based materials like cane. sugar, which currently represent around 80 of its 3,600 pieces, or around 2%.

“We are in a plastic pollution crisis and all businesses need to reduce their use of plastic,” said Emma Priestland, global corporate campaigns coordinator at Break Free From Plastic, a global lobby group whose members include Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.

“While it’s great to see a company tackle the damage from its single-use plastic packaging and take action, all of LEGO’s business is plastic-based, so it has to go the extra mile to be truly sustainable. Priestland added.

LEGO has announced that it will expand LEGO Replay, which allows customers to donate used bricks to children in need, in Canada and another country beyond the United States by the end of 2022. Almost all Customers surveyed by the company prefer to keep their LEGO fixed or pass them on, according to Brooks, who said the bricks made today still match those made four decades ago.

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