The world’s largest toymaker is having a hard time making its little bricks eco-friendly.
What happened: Danish Toymaker Lego has abandoned a high-profile effort to ditch oil-based plastics from its bricks after finding that its new material — made from recycled plastic bottles — would lead to higher carbon emissions, per the Financial Times.
- To produce recycled bricks at a large scale, the company would have had to buy new equipment and redesign its factories, a process that would lead to higher emissions.
Why it matters: It goes to show how hard it is for companies to meet their ambitious climate goals. While "making legos from recycled plastic bottles" sounds great, the environmental costs of changing how businesses operate can actually cause more harm than good.
Yes, but: Lego is tripling its investment in sustainability initiatives by 2025, focusing on using other recyclable materials and launching charitable donation programs in Canada and the US. Eventually, it’ll look to repurchase sets from customers and reuse them as new sets.
Zoom out: Lego isn’t the only company looking to reuse old materials. While some brands, like Patagonia, have always used recycled materials as part of their business model, others like Nike, Adidas, and Dell have started leaning into the strategy over recent years.—LA