Global toymaker Lego A/S is ditching the plastic bag as it continues its search for the right replacement for ABS in its bricks.
Lego announced Sept. 14 that it is investing another $400 million in its sustainability efforts and it will stop using plastic packaging in its packs, using a paper bag instead to hold small pieces within its cardboard box outer packaging.
"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," CEO Niels B Christiansen said in a news release.
Moving away from plastic bags will not be simple, Lego noted. It still wanted durable and lightweight options. It tested prototypes with children who preferred paper bags because they were easy to open and considered more environmentally friendly.
Lego will begin phasing out plastic bags in 2021 and aims to make all packaging sustainable by 2025.
Billund, Denmark-based Lego first announced it would phase out standard ABS for its bricks in 2014 and the company has updated its progress since then. In the Sept. 14 statement, Lego confirmed its target to make all products from sustainable materials by 2030.
Currently it makes about 2 percent of its bricks from bioplastic, starting with sugar cane as a source for a polyethylene brick.
Officials have noted that replacing standard plastic is complicated by the fact that bio-based bricks must be able to work seamlessly with parts made more than 40 years ago.
Beyond the bags and bricks, Lego also promoted its in-house system to allow users to donate their bricks to new users. "Lego Reply" was tested in the U.S. in 2019 and is being expanded to two more countries by the end of 2022.
Lego says 23,000 children in the U.S. have received donated toys through the program.