Lego’s transition into bio-plastics is probably one of their greatest achievements to date. Having said that, the company has inspired children (and adults!) to think big for decades. Its most recent collection honors the women of NASA, validating that success doesn’t rely on gender.
“In all realms of science, engineering, and technology, pioneering women have historically been underappreciated for their often groundbreaking work,”[MIT News Deputy Editor and Lecturer Maia Weinstock who proposed the idea] said in a statement.
This is truly a big move, considering how the usual Lego collection depicts fantastical universes like Star Wars or Minecraft. Not only is the company pandering to the interests of young girls now, they are doing so with an inspirational agenda.
The set’s figures include Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space, and Margaret Hamilton, who developed software for the Apollo spacecraft. It will also come with miniatures of the Hubble Telescope and Space Shuttle, among other tools. Lego hopes to encourage more girls to explore various branches of science.
[Weinstock added,] “We have also seen that when girls and women are given more encouragement in the STEM fields, they become more likely to pursue careers in these areas.”
Remember, girls — science is, of course, also for you. And forget “nerdy.” Microscopes and bunsen burners are the new “cool.”
They say starting em’ young is the best way to get a point across — and you often can’t go wrong with a toy. Since first promoting sustainability through bioplastics, Lego is already onto something greater. By the end of the year, the trinket tycoon will launch a collection of plant-based bricks.
Production has started on the sustainable pieces, which include “botanical elements” like leaves, bushes, and trees. The new pieces are made from polyethylene, a soft and durable plastic, and Lego notes that they are “technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic.”
Lego’s $165 million investment in plastic alternatives will hopefully see a drop in the 4% annual consumption of petroleum. The masterminds behind the popular Millennium Falcon build-it is also teaming up with WWF to reduce carbon emissions.
“It is essential that companies in each industry find ways to responsibly source their product materials and help ensure a future where people, nature, and the economy thrive,” said Alix Grabowski, a senior program officer at WWF in a statement.
For nearly 90 years, Lego has inspired us to build more than just fantasies, but sustainable realities.
Like most kids, I grew up hoarding various sets of Lego. While they may seem indestructible, surviving generations worth of hand-me-down rituals, they don’t actually last forever. I don’t mean this in the Lego-is-no-longer-cool sense (because kids can now use toys to program). A lot of Lego gets tossed and it’s pretty environmentally damaging. But not to worry — Lego is taking action by revamping their materials into bio-plastics.
Lego announced it would invest the equivalent of $155 million into finding a non-oil, smaller-footprint source for the various plastic they need to make all those tires, trees, and movie stars.
This is a big move for Lego, considering making and disposing of them is quite negatively impactful. For scale, Lego produces 19 billion pieces a year, but it is also looking for ways to offset waste.
The Lego company has also been reducing its carbon footprint through other means as well, including investing in an offshore wind farm. In fact, it recently met a 100% renewable energy milestone.
Lego’s ultimate goal is to work with at least 20 plastic alternatives by 2030. Until then, we’ll be off building castles and spaceships.