Lego Makes Pledge To Reduce Environmental Impact

July 8th 2015

Laura Donovan

Your favorite childhood toys are about to get more environmentally friendly.

Lego blocks, which have been around for nearly six decades, will be completely free of ABS, the oil-based plastic in the blocks, by 2030, according to a Fast Company report.

Roar Trangbaek, press officer for Lego Group, told the publication that this is a "logical" way to help improve the environment as a company.

"You could say that it's a logical place for us to find a way of reducing our environmental footprint," Trangbaek said. "If you look at our CO2 footprint as a company, the majority of our impact comes from offscreen activities—basically what happens before we receive any raw materials in our factory ... We're looking at every opportunity out there that's more sustainable than what we have today."

This will significantly reduce Lego's carbon footprint, as the majority of the company's carbon footprint it the result of "extraction and refinement of oil used in its toys," according to Fast Company. The higher ups at Lego decided this move would be the best way to control its carbon footprint even though it has other environmentally friendly business projects in the works.

All of this is going to come at a major cost, however. Lego is putting $150 million towards a new sustainable materials center set to open next year and will hire 100 people to work closely on finding new ways to manufacture and package the toys. While Lego will remain plastic and still look the same after all of this is over, oil won't be used to make them.

Though Lego is proud of this environmentally friendly move, the company recognizes that there is more to be done. Legos hopes to encourage other businesses to find ways to lower their carbon footprints as well.

In another big move, Lego announced recently that it would add more female scientist figurines to its collection. As ATTN: covered last week, you can expect to see female deep sea explorers, mechanics, veterinarians, aerospace engineers, and pit crew members in the minifig set.

Science writer and editor Maia Weinstock wrote in a blog post that the Friends and Elves lines, which are geared towards young girls, could use some more work.

"To be sure, significant room for improvement remains in overall representation of girls and women across LEGO's offerings," Weinstock wrote. "For example, I and many others would very much like to see more female characters in leading roles outside of Friends and Elves — STEM careers or otherwise. Because the reality is, despite recent improvements, LEGO is still overwhelmingly marketed to boys: When it comes to the main LEGO lines, male remains the default. There are far more male characters than female in any given set, and it is almost impossible to purchase a set containing only one minifigure where that minifig is female."

Earlier this year, Weinstock proposed Legal Justice League Lego figures, which include Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg figurines, on Lego Ideas, but the set was rejected for failing the contest's "no politics" guidelines.

Legal League Legos

"​This set of custom-designed lego minifigures, U.S. Supreme Court replica, and SCOTUS library/study aims to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the legal realm, and to encourage girls and women to work toward high positions in the U.S. judicial system," Weinstock wrote on her website. "For 192 years, the constitutionality of United States law was decided by men alone. Then in 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Three women have since joined O'Connor in representing the female half of the U.S. population on the Supreme Court bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1993), Sonia Sotomayor (2009), and Elena Kagan (2010)."

Weinstock resubmitted a generic "Legal Justice Team" Lego set that is currently up for consideration on Lego Ideas.

Maia Weinstock's Legal Justice Team Lego set