However Taticchi doesn’t mince his phrases. As we speak, decarbonisation isn’t just a nice-to-have: “They aren’t going to outlive as a company in the event that they don’t discover a resolution.” By the way, final month, Lego reported its working income had plummeted by 19 p.c, the largest dive since 2004.
It’s very onerous to discover a sensible different to ABS, says Gregg Beckham on the US Division of Vitality’s Nationwide Renewable Vitality Laboratory. He and colleagues are engaged on a biobased purposeful substitute for ABS. Would it not have all of the particular properties required for a high quality Lego piece? “To be decided,” he says, noting that “a number of corporations” are actually engaged on scaling up comparable know-how.
Consciousness is rising of how plastic can persist within the pure atmosphere. Lengthy-forgotten toys comprised of plastic supplies, together with doable Lego items, have even turned up at a former nuclear missile base in Poland, the place the households of Soviet officers as soon as lived in secrecy.
And don’t overlook all of the Lego within the ocean. Each month or so, Tracey Williams, an writer and founding father of the Lego Misplaced at Sea challenge, catches up with native fishermen in Cornwall, England, who save bits of Lego that have gotten trapped of their nets. In 2020, she co-authored a examine that instructed dinky little items of ABS Lego might stay within the sea, producing microplastic particles, for between 100 and 1,300 years.
A number of the components collected by Williams are as a lot as 50 years outdated. Nonetheless, most originate from a misplaced transport container that was full of almost 5 million Lego items. A rogue wave hit the vessel Tokio Categorical in 1997, inflicting cargo to tip into the water.
“You possibly can solely actually inform that they’ve been mendacity on the backside of the ocean for 26 years by the marine life rising on them,” she says. “They do survive remarkably effectively.”
The weathering of recovered items varies, however, remarkably, some are in ok situation for use once more, regardless of their prolonged sojourn beneath the waves or caught in sand dunes. And that, the sheer sturdiness of ABS, may present Lego with a solution, or a part of a solution, to its issues.
“We need to be certain that the bricks have the longest doable life,” says Brooks, as he lays out the targets of Lego’s Replay initiative, during which second-hand Lego items are returned to the corporate, sorted, washed, repackaged and—at current—donated to youngsters. Lego declined to make clear precisely how many individuals are employed on this effort, which is at present dwell solely within the US and Canada. The scheme typically requires disassembly of Lego units, and sorting of bricks each by machine and by hand. High quality management is vital. “We as soon as discovered a little bit Lego pirate treasure chest with a set of youngsters’s tooth in it,” says Brooks.