Image: Shutterstock / PunkbarbyO
LEGO’s artificial superheroes, astronauts, knights, and ninjas are, like best such materials, primarily fabricated from oil. Legos accept been fabricated this way for about 70 years. But the toy aggregation now wants to wean itself from petroleum and aftermath its acclaimed toys with plants instead — accurately tropically-grown sugarcane.
On Thursday, the aggregation appear it will activate bearing its softer LEGOs — like its little copse and bushes — from sugarcane-sourced plastics.
“It sounds high-falutin, but it’s our acceptance that we owe it to accouchement not to accident their planet by authoritative their admired toy,” said Tim Brooks, LEGO’s carnality admiral of ecology albatross and acceptable abstracts Center, in an interview.
LEGO has started purchasing sugarcane from Brazil — but Brooks said the aggregation ensured it’s actuality developed on agronomical land, “so we’re not chopping bottomward rainforest to abound the crop.” The sugarcane sourcing additionally got a thumbs up from the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance, which provides advice on sustainably developed sugarcane.
Lego’s polyethylene ‘botanicals’ like trees, bushes and leaves.
LEGO is application sugarcane to aftermath a specific, softer blazon of plastic, alleged polyethylene, for its plants and bushes. By the end of 2018, Brooks said that any LEGO box you buy will accept sugarcane-sourced LEGO “botanicals.”
Brooks recognizes that this is aloof a start, as polyethylene is alone acclimated in one to two percent of LEGO’s absolute products. Best LEGOs — the acclaimed blocks — use ABS plastics, which are hard, durable, and oil-based.
But LEGO hopes to accomplish best of its “core products” from added acceptable sources, like plants, by 2030.
Stephen Mayfield, a atomic biologist at UC San Diego and administrator of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, said the company’s move is a footfall in the appropriate direction. “You’ll acquisition haters, but it’s way bigger than petroleum — so these bodies should be acclaimed for accomplishing this,” Mayfield said of sugarcane-based plastics. He has no amalgamation with LEGO.
Switching from oil-based to plant-based plastics badly cuts the carbon brand of a artefact by about 70 percent, Mayfield said.
“The added we can go to biological sources, the bigger it is,” he said.
Additionally, Brazilian sugarcane is generally above and candy application extra bulb amount — as against to application deposit fuels (like in the United States) to abstracted the artificial abstracts — said Mayfield.
“The carbon brand on that is appealing accursed good,” he said.
An archetype of how LEGO has bargain the admeasurement of its boxes.
LEGO is not new to ecology initiatives. Like abounding toys, LEGOs commonly came in big boxes — boxes absolute lots of air, not LEGOs. The aggregation has started shrinking its agenda boxing, which Brooks said “takes 4,000 trucks off the alley every year” as added boxes can now be transported at once.
Beginning to use plant-based articles will absolutely advice the aggregation accomplish its sustainability goals, admitting LEGO is aloof accomplishing their allotment in a all-around abridgement still bedeviled by deposit fuels — bound assets that are the primary contributor to human-caused altitude change.
“It’s not the final solution,” said Mayfield. “But if we delay for the final band-aid we’ll never do anything.”
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