Lego wants to convert their iconic plastic bricks to a biomaterial that can survive generations of play

In March, 2017, the Lego Group unveiled the world’s tallest Lego wind turbine to celebrate having met its 100% renewable-energy target three years ahead of schedule.

The 30-ft-tall wind turbine built from 146,000 Lego bricks pays tribute to the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm near Liverpool, UK, one of Lego’s investments in wind energy totaling $940 million since 2012. Companies often meet (or even beat) ambitious renewable energy targets by investing in clean electricity—such as wind power—to offset traditional electricity consumption. Once Burbo Bank began producing electricity in May, the total output of clean energy from Lego’s investments was enough to offset the power used by the company’s factories, offices, and stores worldwide.

Many big brands have set renewable-energy targets to help reduce their carbon dioxide footprints, but a recently published study concludes offsetting carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy isn’t enough to save the planet. We’ll also need to actually reduce carbon emissions. In 2015, Lego set another target: replacing 20 types of conventional plastics used in making its bricks with sustainable materials by 2030 to help curb the company’s total carbon dioxide emissions.

The Denmark-based toy maker invested $155 million into a Sustainable Materials Center, where materials specialists are exploring alternatives to plastics made from fossil fuels. Lego attributes just 10% of the carbon dioxide emitted during the lifecycle of Lego bricks to the company’s own factories, offices, and stores. The other 90% comes from sources outside its direct control, such as product transport and distribution—and from the making of the tiny plastic chunks it sources from materials suppliers to build its bricks.

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