The Lego Group unveiled one of its iconic bricks made from recycled plastic, though it warned it would be some time before it's found in a set.
The brick, which uses PET plastic from discarded bottles, is the result of a three-year test to develop a material meeting the company’s quality, safety and use requirements. A one-liter plastic PET bottle provides enough raw material for about 10 2-by-4 Lego bricks.
“The biggest challenge on our sustainability journey is rethinking and innovating new materials that are as durable, strong and high quality as our existing bricks — and fit with Lego elements made over the past 60 years,” said Tim Brooks, VP of environmental responsibility at the Lego Group.
The brick has been developed using a bespoke compounding technology to combine the recycled PET with strengthening additives. The PET is sourced from suppliers that meet both U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approval processes.
Lego will continue testing it for about a year and then assess whether it should move into the pilot production phase.
The company, which has received high ranks for its brand reputation, is investing up to $400 million over three years to accelerate its sustainability ambitions, and Brooks noted it’s committed to helping build a sustainable future for children.
“We want our products to have a positive impact on the planet, not just with the play they inspire, but also with the materials we use,” he added. “We still have a long way to go on our journey but are pleased with the progress we’re making.”
Separately, the company also unveiled a new retail concept store that bridges physical and digital interactivity. Located on Fifth Avenue in New York, the 7,175-square-foot flagship seek to fulfill consumers’ increasing desire for personalized and interactive retail experiences.
The two-story store was developed over the course of two years, aided by consumer feedback for more opportunities to play with the bricks and participate in activities. As a result, it includes such features as an interactive Brick Lab; a Storytelling Table that displays early product designs and prototypes; and a Personalization Studio where consumers can reimagine themselves in Lego form.
“For a number of years, we’ve seen the trend towards people visiting stores for high-quality, entertaining brand experiences,” said Colette Burke, chief commercial officer. “Over the past year, our fans have missed personal and tactile interactions with the brand, and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”
This new format is modular and scalable in order to translate to both Lego stores of all sizes and third-party retail partner stores.
Lego operates more than 730 stores in 50 countries. It plans to open 120 new stores this year, with this new format coming to more than 100 of them, as well as select partner retailers.