Lego to Put Recycling Labels on all its US Packaging

The Lego Group has joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s How2Recycle program and has announced plans to start labelling its toy packaging for its US consumers this year. By the end of the year, the company aims to have the How2Recycle label on more than 60% of its products, which will be extended to all the products it sells in the US market next year.

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Why have they taken this step?

The company’s vice president of environmental responsibility says that though Lego is designed to last for generations, not everyone keeps the original box, so by labelling the boxes with the How2Recycle label, it will encourage customers to recycle packaging responsibly. The company are looking to label the products they sell in other markets eventually, but they have admitted that language barriers and the huge variation in recycling systems in different countries will be a challenge.

What is How2Recycle?

The How2Recycle programme helps brands to put labels on their packaging that consumers can understand, so it’s clear how that material can be recycled. The programme has been running since 2012, and 90 companies work with them, including Amazon and Colgate-Palmolive. Last year, Nestle became the first US drinks manufacturer to put recycling labels on the 500ml versions of all its US brands.

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Lego’s push towards sustainability

Working with How2Recycle is the latest move that the Lego Group has made to improve recycling and sustainability.

Sustainable paper

In 2012, the company made a commitment to only use paper from forests that have been sustainably managed, and by 2015, all of its operations were using Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper and packaging. The company made the commitment after Greenpeace lobbied companies to stop using paper supplied by Asia Pulp and Paper, which they said was clearing the rainforest in Indonesia at an alarming rate.

Sustainable materials

In 2015, they also invested a huge $150 million in developing sustainable materials for its products and packaging. The plastic lego bricks are durable but oil is involved in the manufacturing process, so they are looking to develop a material that is not based on oil. They’ve made a commitment to make all of their products and packaging from sustainable materials by 2030. They’re also looking to improve their waste management system and eliminating waste in their operations.

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Saving paper and cardboard

As paper and cardboard are the main materials used in Lego’s packaging and instruction sheets, the company say that they have a responsibility to preserve forests for future generations. In 2014, the company started packaging their products in boxes that were 14% smaller. As well as this, the boxes and instruction sheets are made from sustainably sourced paper, where trees are not cut down faster than the forest can reproduce. This protects the environment and wildlife.

Using smaller boxes saves 7,000 tonnes of cardboard from going to landfill every year and the company say that smaller boxes are better for their customers, retailers, their business, and for the environment.