Having admitted that it needs to do more to join the fight against plastic waste, LEGO is to introduce new bricks made from sugar cane later this year.
A new range of ‘sustainable’ parts including leaves, bushes and trees made from sugar cane are currently in production.
At present LEGO’s bricks are made from ABS plastic which is made from crude oil, however the firm has committed to making them sustainable by 2030.
The move comes after reports that LEGO pieces are regularly washing up on beaches along the South coast from Cornwall to Brighton, spoiling the scenery.
It is thought that the phenomenon is due to nearly 4.8 million LEGO toy parts falling overboard from a container ship in a storm off Land’s End in 1997.
While the process for making the new parts may be greener than the traditional bricks, they will not be biodegradable.
In fact, it will be a ‘long time’ before LEGO’s standard bricks are made out of sustainable materials, according to Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility and sustainable materials at LEGO.
The challenges of making finely detailed and accurate building bricks out of sugar cane means LEGO is likely to wait right up until 2030 before taking the step, he said.
The new LEGO elements are made from polyethylene, a soft, durable and flexible plastic based on sugar cane material.
Brooks added: “LEGO products have always been about providing high quality play experiences giving every child the chance to shape their own world through inventive play.
“Children and parents will not notice any difference in the quality or appearance of the new elements, because plant-based polyethylene has the same properties as conventional polyethylene.
“The unique LEGO brick design, and the LEGO Group’s uncompromised focus on quality and safety during the past 60 years ensures that two LEGO bricks produced decades apart can still fit together. As the LEGO Group is working towards using sustainable materials in its core products and packaging, it will remain strongly rooted and driven by the uncompromised focus on high product quality and safety.”