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Lego turns plastic bottles into bricks

Zoe Smith, June 25, 2021 7:30AM News Corp Australia Network

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Lego is making bricks out of recycled plastic bottles and they are expected to hit Australian shops within two years. media_cameraLego is making bricks out of recycled plastic bottles and they are expected to hit Australian shops within two years.

environment

Reading level: green

Australian children could soon be playing with Lego made from recycled plastic as the toy giant expands its green credentials*.

The new recycled prototype* brick, which uses plastic from discarded bottles, is the company’s latest step in its journey to make Lego products from sustainable* materials.

It is the first brick made from a recycled material to meet the Danish-based toy giant’s strict quality and safety requirements, including “clutch power” – the classic tubes and studs design that allows the bricks to interlock.

A team of more than 150 engineers and scientists in Denmark have been working on the environmentally friendly brick for more than three years, testing more than 250 variations of PET* plastic materials.

media_cameraA team of more than 150 engineers and scientists have been working on the environmentally friendly bricks.

The new recycled bricks will “work perfectly” with existing Lego bricks and should be on Australian shelves within 18 to 24 months, according to Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility at the Lego Group.

The company prides itself on the way its bricks are handed down from generation to generation – bricks that were manufactured in the 1950s are still compatible* with those produced today.

“We know kids care about the environment and want us to make our products more sustainable,” Mr Brooks said.

“Even though it will be a while before they will be able to play with bricks made from recycled plastic, we want to let kids know we’re working on it and bring them along on the journey with us.”

media_cameraThe new prototype brick is tested in Denmark.

The discarded bottles are sourced from the US, with a one-litre plastic PET bottle providing enough raw material for 10 Lego bricks.

The recycled brick is the latest move in Lego’s plan to make its products more sustainable by 2030.

In 2020, the company announced it would begin removing single-use plastic from its boxes.

In 2018, it began producing elements from bio-polyethylene* (bio-PE), made from sustainably sourced sugarcane.

media_cameraA one-litre plastic bottle can create 10 Lego bricks.

Mr Brooks said Lego was “committed to playing our part in building a sustainable future for generations of 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 said.

“We still have a long way to go on our journey but are pleased with the progress we’re making.”

GLOSSARY

  • credentials: achievements, qualifications
  • prototype: a first version of something
  • sustainable: able to be continued without running out
  • PET: a clear, strong and lightweight plastic
  • compatible: able to work or exist together
  • bio-polyethylene: a plastic made from plant material that can be recycled

EXTRA READING

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Lego lost at sea could survive 1300 years

QUICK QUIZ

  1. How many engineers and scientists have been working on the environmentally friendly brick?
  2. Which country is Lego from?
  3. How many Lego bricks can be made from a one-litre bottle?
  4. How long until the recycled bricks will be in shops in Australia?
  5. What did Lego start removing from its boxes in 2020?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Write a Story
Clutch Power! This is the title of a story. Write the story. 

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
This is a great example of a toy that is now being made in a much more environmentally friendly way. Can you think of another item that you use or play with that could be more environmentally friendly? Create a new design for your item or describe the changes that you would make. 

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links:English, Science, Design and Technologies 

VCOP ACTIVITY
Up-level it
Scan through the article and see if you can locate three words that you consider to be basic, or low level. These are words we use all the time and that can be replaced by more sophisticated words. Words like “good” and “said” are examples of overused words.

Once you have found them, see if you can up-level them. Think of synonyms you could use instead of these basic words, but make sure they still fit into the context of the article.

Re-read the article with your new words. Did it make it better? Why/why not?

Extra Reading in environment