Legos in the Future Won't be Oil-based

June 30, 2015

Legos in the Future Won't Be Oil-Based

(Photo: David Baratz, USA TODAY)

(Photo: David Baratz, USA TODAY)

By Joanne Payumo, Product Ventures Packaging Technology Engineer

Ever wondered what these popular modular bricks are made out of and how they are made?

Legos are predominantly molded from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), a thermoplastic polymer. In order to make the molded blocks, small granules of ABS are heated to somewhere between 230 - 310 degrees Celsius in the barrel of an extruder on an injection molding machine. Once completely melted and blended with the appropriate colorant, the material is injected into molds of various shapes and sizes at pressures from 25 - 150 tons. In a matter of seconds the parts cool down and get ejected from the mold. Click here to watch the fascinating bricks come to life.

In 2014 alone 60+ billion LEGO elements were made. And since ABS is derived from non-renewable resources, LEGO Group is seeking ways to reduce their environmental impact.  

On June 16, the LEGO Group announced that they plan to invest around $150 million to research and develop sustainable alternatives to the petroleum-based blocks. A new LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre will be set up by the end of 2016 in their headquarters in Billund, Denmark where sustainable alternative studies will take place. 

Sources: http://education.lego.com/en-us/about-us/lego-education-worldwide/making-lego-bricks
http://www.lego.com/en-us/aboutus/news-room/2015/june/sustainable-materials-centre