Toy maker Lego to focus on renewable bioplastics - exec

Author: Clare Pennington


BERLIN (ICIS)--Lego will focus on producing products with lasting bioplastics and reduce its environmental footprint in the production process, an executive at the Danish toy maker said on Wednesday.

Bistra Andersen, senior product manager for materials at Lego, also said that there was not a "universal definition of 'sustainable material', adding that the company had partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to reach a definition of what is sustainable, together with other industry players.

Andersen was speaking to delegates at the European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin.

She added the Lego would not be looking at biodegradable plastics for the moment because "we cannot compromise safety, consumer-perceived quality and durability", adding that embrittlement could "potentially injure the kids."

"We don’t want degradation to happen [with our toy products] ... for many reasons ... So our focus is on the input side. We believe in durable but not biodegradable materials; we take a cradle-to-cradle approach," she said.

"Due to internal analysis we have found that most CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions come from upstream [parts of the business] and most [responsibility] lies with the polymer producers."

The company is now working with producers to lower CO2 emissions in its supply chain, she said.

"We do want to use more renewable energy and sustainable products in production."

The company has pledged to use sustainable materials in all its core packaging and products by 2030.

The company plans to use renewable ethanol in all its polyethylene (PE) designs even sooner, she added.

The firm launched the first Lego set made using sugar-cane based ethanol earlier this year, which she said also meant fully replacing traditional high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) material.

"We consider renewable feedstock, recycled material and carbon capture, with minimum waste in supply chain," she said.

"Sustainable materials should have better environmental performance. We want the quality to be high enough for re-use through generations or [for used Lego products] to be given to poorer countries and charities."

Clarification: Re-casts headline, introduction