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Lego piloting scheme to recycle bricks in drive against plastic waste

If successful, the US project will be expanded to other countries.

Children play with lego. (Kirsty O’Connor)
Children play with lego. (Kirsty O’Connor)

By Joseph Pisani, Associated Press

Lego is testing a way for US customers to ship their unwanted bricks back and get them into the hands of other children.

The Danish toymaker said on Tuesday that customers in the US can print out a mailing label on its site, dump their used Lego bricks in a box and ship them off for free.

Lego said the pieces will be cleaned, put in a box and given to Teach For America, a non-profit group that will donate them to classrooms across the United States.

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An eight-metre long tyrannosaurus rex made out of Lego (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Some bricks will be also sent to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for their after-school programmes.

Lego said if the test is successful, it may expand the programme beyond the US next year.

The company typically tells its customers to keep their bricks or pass them on to others.

But some have asked for another way to donate them, said Tim Brooks, Lego’s vice president of environmental responsibility.

Lego, like other big brands, is looking to please customers worried about plastic’s impact on the environment.

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Pupils from the Globe Primary School build a Lego sculpture (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Plastic does not disintegrate but instead can break down into tiny pieces and be eaten by birds or other wildlife, endangering their health.

It is also working to find other materials for its colourful bricks.

But finding one as durable as plastic has been a challenge, Mr Brooks said.

Last year, however, it began making Lego trees and bushes out of sugar cane.

Rival Hasbro, which makes Monopoly and Mr Potato Head, said it plans to eliminate plastic use in its packaging by 2022.

It too has said that finding a material to replace the plastic in its toys has been tricky.

PA

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