Lego replacing plastic packaging from 2021 amid £310m sustainable drive

Lego Group (LEGO) has announced plans to ditch plastic packaging by 2025 following calls from children to be more sustainable.

The toy maker will be trialing recyclable paper bags from next year as part of its £310m ($400m) green initiative.

We have received many letters from children about the environment asking us to remove single-use plastic packaging. We have been exploring alternatives for some time and the passion and ideas from children inspired us to begin to make the change,” said CEO Niels B Christiansen.

Over the next three years the company will accelerate its sustainability plans which include programmes to donate pre-loved Lego bricks, the expansion of bio-bricks and carbon neutral manufacturing by 2022.

Lego uses some 90,000 tonnes of plastic in its products each year but since 2018 the company has made some of the less rigid parts of Lego sets, such as plants and trees, from bio-polyethylene, a type of plastic made from ethanol, produced using sugarcane.

The Danish firm has already pledged to make its plastic products from sustainable materials by 2030.

It’s critical we take urgent action now to care for the planet and future generations. As a company who looks to children as our role models, we are inspired by the millions of kids who have called for more urgent action on climate change,” added Christiansen.

Pressure has been mounting on the company to reduce its plastic packaging particularly since sales and profits rose during the coronavirus pandemic. Families have been buying Lego sets to keep children occupied during lockdown and the toy maker still has plans to open 120 new stores around the globe this year.

Programmes to encourage the reuse of Lego have seen bricks donated to over 23,000 children in the US. The company now plans to roll the scheme out to two more countries by the end of 2022.

Its social responsibility drive will also see the scaling up of play programmes in partnership with UNICEF and Save the Children.