Can plastic bottles become building blocks? Lego takes another big step towards environmental protection

The Lego bricks in our hands are becoming more and more environmentally friendly.

Recently, Lego launched the first batch of building blocks made from discarded plastic bottles, which is a big step for Lego towards sustainable development. Lego stated that all its products will be fully sustainable in 2030.

Three years ago, a team of more than 150 materials scientists and engineers began to find solutions for Lego's "sustainable environmentally friendly building blocks".

In the past three years, they have tested more than 250 PET materials and hundreds of plastics , but none of them can meet Lego's strict quality and safety requirements.

Some people may have questions about the safety of these building blocks , but in fact, you don't have to worry about it. Lego is very strict about safety.

These blocks are made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) from a US supplier. These raw materials have reached the safety standards of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).

Only safety is not enough. For players, they also need sufficiently hard blocks.

In 2018, LEGO tried to use bio-PE (bio-PE) to produce building blocks, which is made from sustainably sourced sugarcane, and many LEGO sets on the market now contain these building blocks.

However, these building blocks are not hard enough, so they are only suitable for making small and soft parts, such as trees, branches, leaves and other small accessories. They are not suitable for making harder and stronger building blocks.

▲Picture from: Tricky Bricks

For those building blocks made of recyclable plastics, researchers use special composite technology to combine recycled PET with "strengthening additives" to make them have sufficient hardness and high durability.

On average, one liter of PET plastic bottle can make ten 2*4 size Lego bricks.

The LEGO Group's vice president of environmental responsibility Tim Brooks (Tim Brooks) commented on the results of this research:

We are very excited about this breakthrough. The biggest challenge we face in our sustainability journey is to find new materials that can be made as strong and durable as existing building blocks and can match the Lego elements we have created in the past 60 years.

At present, this special building block has not yet been put on the market, and it will take some time for scientific researchers to test it, optimize the material formula, and then evaluate whether it can enter the trial production stage. At present, it will take at least one year.

"Although it will take a while for children to play with blocks made of recycled plastic, we want them to know that we are working hard and take them on a journey together," Tim said.

"Experiment and failure are an important part of learning and innovation. Just like children building, dismantling and rebuilding with Lego bricks at home, we do the same in the laboratory."

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