The Lego Group has joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s How2Recycle program, announcing plans to begin labeling the toy packaging for US consumers this year.
By the end of 2018, Lego says that more than 60% of the company’s new toy boxes will have the How2Recycle label. The Lego Group plans to extend the labeling to nearly all of its North American products next year.
“Lego bricks are designed to be reused and handed down through generations, but not everyone keeps their Lego boxes,” Tim Brooks, the company’s vice president, environmental responsibility, said. “Implementing the How2Recycle label on Lego packaging is an important step in minimizing landfill through clear guidelines, encouraging consumers to responsibly recycle their packaging.”
The Lego Group says the company is currently working on developing recycling labels for other markets outside North America, including Europe, but the diversity of languages and recycling systems pose a challenge.
How2Recycle aims to help brands put clear standardized consumer labels on their packaging, showing consumers how to recycle it. The program launched in 2012 and has since gained 90 participants. Amazon and Colgate-Palmolive are among the newest brands to start participating.
Last year Nestle Waters became the first beverage manufacturer in North America to put the recycling labels on the half-liter bottles of all its major US brands, including Poland Spring and Arrowhead. Before that, the Method cleaning products company People Against Dirty joined the program.
The move to join How2Recycle is the latest in the Lego Group’s multi-year push to improve recycling and sustainability. Back in 2012, the toy company committed to using only paper from forests which have been managed under sustainable principles. In 2015, the company reached its goal to use Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper and packaging for all of its operations. The pledge came after Greenpeace put pressure on toy companies to drop supplier Asia Pulp and Paper, which the organization said was clearing the Indonesian rainforest.
The same year, the Lego Group invested more than $150 million in developing sustainable materials for its products and packaging. Last year the company reported hiring at least 100 engineers for this purpose.
“Lego bricks are made from the highest quality plastic, which is very functional and durable as a material. However, the current raw materials we use for manufacturing Lego bricks are oil-based, and that is a scarce resource,” a Lego spokesperson told Environmental Leader in 2016. “So we are searching for a new material that is not based on oil.”
The company committed to making all of its products and packaging from sustainable materials by 2030.
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