Mar 5, 2018

For over 70 years, toy company LEGO has been relying on petroleum to produce its famous plastic superheroes, ninjas, and brick buildings. But it looks things are about to change this year.

Last Thursday, the company announced that they will start producing its softer LEGOs from tropically-sourced sugarcane. “[It’s our belief] that we owe it to children not to damage their planet by making their favorite toy,” said Tim Brooks, LEGO’s vice president of environmental responsibility and sustainable materials.

Photo courtesy of LEGO

LEGO began purchasing sugarcane from Brazil, with the assurance that it’s being grown on agricultural land. The sugarcane-sourced plastic, called polyethylene, is a softer type of plastic and will be used for Lego plants and bushes. Consumers can expect sugarcane-sourced LEGO “botanicals” in every box they buy by the end of 2018, according to Brooks.

Stephen Mayfield, a molecular biologist at UC San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, said in an interview with Mashable that switching from oil-based to plant-based plastics can “dramatically cut the carbon footprint of a product by 70 percent.”

This is not LEGO’s first venture into greener pastures, though. The company has started to shrink their boxes, which Brooks said will take “4,000 trucks off the road every year,” reducing their carbon footprint even more.

“It’s not a final solution, but if we wait for the final solution we’ll never do anything,” tells Mayfield. Now, can we have plant-based Polly Pockets, too?



Header courtesy of Unsplash

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