Bottle to Build

By Yasmin Ayture

Red Yellow Blue and Green; bright rainbow colours that grab our attention, one of our first toys and indeed one of the world’s leading toy brands: Lego is the epitome of fun whether played with alone or with those around us. Its multi-coloured bricks, fastening together in numerous ways, bring to life a vast array of possible scenes, figures and scenarios. Lego has diversified over the years since 1932 into a product range that keeps giving more. Cherished in the locked doors of the past, Lego is looking to the future and to sustainability by aiming to alter its material composition to recycled plastic bottles. Read more in Bottle to Build.

Billions of retro and rainbow Lego pieces exist in the world, with each piece evoking a smile when spotted on the floor across the room or found in an unexpected place. Since 1963, Lego has been made of a type of plastic called ABS which provides its well-known and unique durability and sturdiness. Lego bricks are able to be curiously flexible in their capacity yet solid and reliable in their formation. The traditional Lego bricks are borne out of material which provide its simultaneously simple yet robust makeup, so the idea of altering this material is significant.

Indeed, committed to ensuring Lego’s classic ‘clutch-power’ ability to connect, intertwine and conjoin onto other pieces with ease and be repositioned as desired, there is a need for Lego to stay the same. In many ways, the passage of time must hold still for Lego as its pieces require this consistent structure: Lego’s makers are intent that any changes to materials do not compromise its capabilities. How does essence remain the same when the vessel stands entirely reinvented?

First ever Lego Brick made from Recycled Plastic

Lego’s energising and remarkable intention to invent entirely new sustainable materials is grippingly awe-inspiring; over 250 formulations have been trialed from recycled plastic. Large numbers of trials derive from the belief to not sacrifice the safety, quality or capacity of a single brick in the plight to make better use of plastic that disfigures and disrupts the Earth. Using a bottle to build, single-use plastic bottles are the symbolic embodiment of pollution due to their property of not decomposing, remaining forever in their destruction. Lego have altered what is possible. A one-litre plastic bottle can supply the material for 10 2×4 Lego bricks, implying a world of Lego castles sawing into the sky instead of piles of plastic bottles in landfill.

Bringing together the human desire to play and invent with the deep importance of protecting our planet and species from harm, Lego is a toy of the past and future. Planning to rigorously test and develop a new variety of brick from the raw material sourced from plastic bottles, the results of durability and quality will determine how tall Lego can climb with its novel materials that invest in tomorrow. The building blocks’ bright infamous colours of vibrant red and cheerful yellow will also determine the success of the plastic bottle venture.

Colour testing is underway, and the current grey tones reveal one dimension of the possibilities that remain to be unfolded. Find our more about Lego bricks being made from recycled materials Here, and if you enjoyed reading Bottle to Build, why not read Materials are Changing.

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