You surely remember the joy when your parents brought LEGO toys at home. These fun, colorful bricks are an important part of the childhood of numerous generations.
There is a reason why LEGO is a part of almost every household.
Little kids spend endless hours of creative play, and the safe-designed building bricks boost their creativity, motor skills, thinking, and planning skills, and encourage communication.
Well now, we might get one reason more to buy our kids a new LEGO set- these toys will become environment- friendly!
LEGO toys exist since 1932 when the founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen started making wooden toys. The name is derived from the Danish term “Leg Godt,” which means to “play well.”
In 1949, the manufacturing of the iconic interlocking blocks began, and today, the annual manufacturing figure stands at 60 billion blocks.
Being the literal building block for generations of children’s toys, LEGO has faced some environmental concerns due to the use of an oil-based plastic material known as ABS.
Now, LEGO seeks an ecologically sustainable alternative to the plastic resin (ABS) currently used for the toy bricks, and it has set a target to manufacture new eco-friendly bricks by 2030.
Allan Rasmussen, Project Manager at LEGO, at Innovation Takes Root 2014 in Orlando, said:
“I need to find a material that is just as good as this one. “I need to find a material that will be just as good in 50 years because these are passed down from generation to generation.”
He added that this quest is still in its early stages, and they have already tested some bricks using an impact modified poly-lactic acid which were “very, very close.” Yet, there was a problem with post-molding ‘’creep,” as the bricks do not click and stick together as they should.
The ‘’clutch power’’ of the toys is key for any material replacing ABS.
Hemp might meet the demands. It is a cannabis strain with very low THC levels and used mainly for its fiber and seeds. Hemp fibers can also be turned into a biodegradable plastic material.
The manufacturing of plastics uses petroleum cellulose which is very harmful, while cellulose made from organic compounds is biodegradable.
Due to its high cellulose content, hemp is an ideal base material. Companies are beginning to realize the efficiency of growing hemp, and the durability of the plant.
The 2018 Farm Bill declassified hemp within the schedule 1 category and opened the floodgates to a growing hemp industry, which is expected to reach $10.6 billion in value by 2025.
Hemp has since found its way into the fuel, health food, paper, textiles, health food, biodegradable plastics, and even cigarette filter industries.
For several years, Australian company Zeoform has been working on the development of biodegradable hemp technologies and has patented a very versatile plastic completely made of hemp, suitable for all kinds of products.
There’s a US company called HempPlastic which has released a plastic that meets the FDA standards for food, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products.
A company called Just Bio Fiber is making LEGO inspired, hemp-based bricks for a home on Vancouver Island.
The demand for hemp plastics and resins grows rapidly, increasing the need for growing hemp for local manufacture.
Hemp grows fast, can be harvested in four months, requires less processing, and is resistant to most pets. It produces oxygen, so it will also reduce the carbon footprint of transport.