Lego to the Rescue!
By Grant Brown, Founder, Happy Eco News
The busy holiday season is upon us and gift giving is soon to be in full swing. At my house not much causes more excitement and fun as when someone gets a new Lego kit. Right now, at the run up to Christmas, we have four Lego advent calendars on the go. My 16 year old daughter has a Harry Potter set, my 18 year old son has a Star Wars set, my wife has a Lego Friends set and I have Lego City.
Every night after dinner starting December 1 until Christmas, we each open and assemble a small Lego set together. We compare, share, and every evening, one kit stands out as “cooler” than the rest, sometimes it’s mine, usually not. Either way it is a fun way for our family to connect at a busy, sometimes stressful time of year.
Yes, I know they are somewhat over packaged. Yes, I know that they are supposed to be for kids. But Lego is fun and inspires creativity. When done how we do it, it is highly social as well. The thing I love the most about it is how everyone in our family derives so much from these small plastic bricks and this enjoyment helps bring us together. Some of the bricks from the collection I started in the 1980’s are still in circulation today.
We love Lego and we literally have thousands of bricks and pieces and more than 200 minifigures. While some are rare and would likely have high value to collectors, at our house none are off limits for play.
And while the company is all about play, play itself might be very under rated. Children are known to thrive from unstructured play. And in 2001 The company started Lego Serious Play, open source adult play that uses bricks to help adults overcome business challenges. Since 2010 it is available under an open source community-based model.
Being that Lego is so big in our home, and both my wife and I work in business, earlier this year she trained for and became a certified Lego Serious Play facilitator. She is available and trained to help teams find a creative path forward through very difficult business challenges (shameless plug for my wife I know).
Lego is a big part of my life and that’s why it is important to me that they are getting their environmental house in order.
Lego is a privately-owned Danish company founded in 1932, building wooden toys. In 2015, it became the world’s largest toy company by revenue. It’s a big manufacturing, sales and distribution business with a big impact globally. Thankfully, Lego acknowledges the impact of its operations on the environment, in particular in areas such as climate change, resource and energy use and waste. All manufacturing sites are certified according to the ISO 14001 environmental standard. The company runs 100% on renewable energy, recycles 90% of its waste and continues to increase energy efficiency in its operations. Beginning in 2011, Lego pledged to only use packaging material certified by the Forest Stewardship Council in future.
Maybe more importantly to customers, it is seeking alternatives to crude oil as the raw material for its bricks. The Lego Sustainable Materials Centre is tasked with finding and implementing sustainable alternatives to current materials. In 2018, Lego began distribution of bricks made with sugarcane instead of oil. The trial was so successful that they have pledged to have all bricks made with this process by 2030.
We have some of these sugarcane based bricks in our collection and I am happy to report they work and look great. This further underscores the fact that while we will likely never be able to completely eliminate plastic from daily life, the need to process crude oil into a toy is gone. The shift from fossil oil to vegetable based consumer products has already started and it starts with Lego; products targeted to the people who will benefit the most from the shift, today’s children.