Lego Saying 'No' To Plastic, Invests Millions Into Search For 'Sustainable' Material

06/24/2015 03:41 am ET | Updated May 13, 2016
Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

Goodbye plastic Legos?

The toy company announced this week that it plans to invest 1 billion Danish Krone (or about $150 million) over the next 15 years in a program to develop new “sustainable” materials which will eventually replace the plastic currently used to make its iconic building blocks. Lego also plans to make its packaging more environmentally-friendly.

The move is a testament to the company’s “continued ambition to leave a positive impact on the planet, which future generations will inherit," Lego Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen said in a news release.

Part of the investment will go the establishment of a Lego Sustainable Materials Centre in Denmark, which the company says will be staffed with more than 100 specialists. The centre is slated to open its doors by 2016.

“This is a major step for the Lego Group on our way towards achieving our 2030 ambition on sustainable materials,” CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said. “We have already taken important steps to reduce our carbon footprint and leave a positive impact on the planet by reducing the packaging size, by introducing [Forest Stewardship Council] certified packaging and through our investment in an offshore wind farm. Now we are accelerating our focus on materials.”

As NBC News notes, Lego blocks have been made from “a strong, resilient plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)” since 1963. The company reportedly uses more than 6,000 tons of plastic every year to manufacture the toy blocks. In 2014, it made 60 billion Lego pieces.

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