Is LEGO Bad for the Environment ?
Who doesn’t own LEGO bricks? I bet every child has one during their childhood. These LEGO bricks are a favourite since it allows children to play pretend, build spatial and social skills. But have you ever thought about how many LEGO bricks that will end up as a waste? And to add more, since it is plastic, it’s non-degradable. Their product is all plastic, but did you know that LEGO is one of the best company in doing their CSR? I was pretty shocked to find this since i know they produce a lot of plastics. But here is how they made it possible.
One the promise LEGO has made is to give positive impact not just to the children but also to the planet that the children will inherit. To live up to the promise, LEGO has gone about and beyond about their sustainability effort. After a various experiment with sustainable raw materials, LEGO launched plant-based polyethylene bricks in 2018 made out of sugarcane to replace its traditional plastic bricks. These bricks are renewable and can minimise non-environmentally friendly waste considerably. The use of sugarcane plastic is in line with the WWF guidelines even though it’s still not biodegradable. Even though it may seem impossible to make their product with 100% sustainable materials, LEGO aimed to make that happen by 2030. I think, it doesn’t matter about the results but the most important thing they are trying to make it happen, and that should counts. Other than that, to take a further step, LEGO has vowed to be 100% zero waste by 2025. You may think that it’s impossible, but LEGO had already recycled 93% of all their waste in 2018. So, it may not seem that impossible now, right?
Waste is one thing, how about other things such as energy consumption? Don’t worry, LEGO has already thought about it. LEGO has built a wind farm that has 78 wind turbines. This wind farm produces enough electricity to power 100.000 households in Germany. They also have 32 offshore wind turbines in the UK. Both combined, the energy produced by the wind farm covers the amount of energy needed to run all LEGO factories, stores and offices. The wind farm has helped LEGO to reach 100% renewable energy 3 years earlier before the goal. Talking about energy consumption, another promise LEGO has made is for their manufacturing operation will be carbon neutral by 2025.
LEGO is well aware of the amount of plastic they produced as well as the impacts of the waste produced. They are trying to phase out single11-use plastic in their packaging. They aimed to make all packaging sustainable and environmental friendly by 2025. To help reduce the amount of LEGO bricks piled in the landfill, LEGO came up with “LEGO Replay”. This project is their newest attempt to being more sustainable. Basically, what this project does is they create a system where people can donate their LEGO, then it will be donated to children needed. Right now, this project just finished its trial in the US and successfully donated more than 23.000 toys to children in the US. I think, it’s a pretty neat way to tackle the waste issue created by LEGO.
Sustainable is not only about the environment. What makes LEGO stood out amongst the other company is that they not only care about the environment but also about children as well as people and the community. LEGO has many initiatives and projects addressing the issue of life-long learning. These initiatives include educating refugees and underprivileged kids.
Being such a huge producer of toys made out of plastic, which has a massive influence on the environment, it is really important for a company to aware of its impact. Finding alternative and eventually making a difficult change to switch to a more sustainable practice is surely get LEGO two thumbs up. Keeping the old material may cost less, but LEGO did it anyway. Even if LEGO doesn’t invest in any of their socially conscious efforts, they would still make a large profit. But, i think their choice to be conscious of these issues and invest to solve it is needed to be appreciated. The level of awareness this company has should be followed by another company to create a better world for our children.
So, to answer the question on the title: Is LEGO bad for the environment? My answer would be no. Their efforts to help tackle the environment issue is outstanding. Their commitment to sustainability issue makes them a great company. You go, LEGO!