The LEGO Group has launched its latest initiative, LEGO Replay, a pilot programme that will recycle old and used LEGO bricks by donating them to children’s non-profits in the US.
The effort is a collaboration with Give Back Box, Teach For America, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
The process is as simple as collecting up any loose LEGO bricks, sets, or elements, placing them into a cardboard box, and then visiting www.lego.com/replay to print out a free UPS shipping label. The package will be sent to the Give Back Box facility, where each brick will be sorted, inspected, and cleaned, before being redistributed.
“We know people don’t throw away their LEGO bricks,” said Tim Brooks, vice president, environmental responsibility at the LEGO Group. “The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren. But others have asked us for a safe way to dispose of or to donate their bricks. With Replay, they have an easy option that’s both sustainable and socially impactful.”
Brooks and his team have spent the past three years working on the project to ensure the process met quality and safety standards while adhering to US regulations. They then connected with Give Back Box, a charity dedicated to “recycling” 11 million tons of unused clothing, footwear, and other textiles that end up in US landfills each year.
“I am excited to join the LEGO Group in this pilot program,” said Monika Wiela, founder of Give Back Box. “Growing up in Poland, I didn’t have many toys as a child, so this collaboration is rather personal for me. What’s better than giving a child the gift of play? For us, the number of donations we receive is critical to a successful campaign, so we’ve made it as easy as possible for folks at home to send in their idle bricks.”
Teach For America will receive the majority of the elements and will provide them to thousands of classrooms across the country.
“Learning through play can have a tremendous impact on a child’s cognitive development. Through play, children develop fine motor skills, think creatively, and can learn how to problem solve through teamwork,” said Susan Asiyanbi, Teach For America’s chief operating and program officer. “But not everyone has access to such resources. LEGO Replay, and the instructional resources they provide educators, will help give more students access to this opportunity.”
Bricks will also be sent to Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for their after-school programs. Both non-profits can expect to receive the first shipments in November 2019. Once the pilot is complete in spring 2020, the LEGO Group will evaluate a possible expansion of the program.