After 57 years Lego is changing its bricks

For decades Lego has sparked the imaginations of children around the world and has grown to become the biggest toy company in history. A whopping 45 billion Lego pieces were made in 2012, and enough were sold that year to circle the world 18 times.

Back in 1958, the Lego Group patented its iconic brick with the familiar tubes inside and studs on top, and since then, all two-by-four bricks  have been produced to the exact same measurements as this patent.

But, after all these years, the humble Lego brick is about to change.

Lego blocks are currently made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which is an extremely hard plastic. But, these days, plastic is losing favour due to its impact on the environment.

Rather than disappear into obscurity, Lego is moving with the times and has pledged to find a better way to produce its iconic toys that doesn’t involve 6000 tonnes of plastic.

Ad. Article continues below.

The Danish company has pledged $1 billion krone (around $US150 million) to finding a new way to make Lego bricks that doesn’t impact the earth.

The Lego Sustainable Materials Center is the one of several moves by Lego to reduce its carbon footprint. Other measures include using less paper in their packaging and investing in an offshore wind farm in a bid to have all energy costs associated with making Lego come from renewable sources.

After 750,000 people signed a Greenpeace petition Lego also severed its ties with oil company Shell, with which it has enjoyed a co-branding relationship for many years.

Lego Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (who is the grandson of Lego founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen) says, “The investment announced is a testament to our continued ambition to leave a positive impact on the planet, which future generations will inherit.

“It is certainly in line with the mission of the LEGO Group and in line with the motto of my grandfather and founder of the LEGO Group, Ole Kirk Kristiansen: ‘Only the best is good enough.'”

Ad. Article continues below.

What do you think of Lego’s plans to seek more sustainable materials for the billions of pieces it produces every year?