Having served as the building blocks of children's toys for generations, the Lego corporation is now looking to fully replace the plastic in their toys with renewable resources by the year 2030. Their choice of a plastic alternative? Hemp.
Historically, Lego has utilized ABS, an oil-based plastic material, in the manufacturing of their toys. As such, they've faced growing concerns about their environmental impact as the movement towards more sustainable and eco-friendly business practices gains traction.
According to Hemp Plastics - a US company that's developed a hemp-based plastic that meets FDA standards - the industrial cannabis plant's high cellulose content (which ranges from 70-80%) makes for an ideal base material in plastic manufacturing. Zeoform, an Australian company that's been working on the development of biodegradable hemp-based materials for several years, has recently announced a patent on a new kind of highly robust plastic made completely out of hemp.
The highly malleable, industrial material is derived from hemp's strong cellulose fibers. Like traditional plastic, it can be blow molded or injected into an endless variety of products, such as straws, buttons, action figures, and of course, toy building blocks.
Hemp has been making waves in the global bioplastic space over the past few years, lauded for its biodegradable and non-toxic properties. Companies around the world are taking note of the cost-efficiency and durability of the plant, which can be used to sustainably produce a variety of both commercial and industrial materials.
The Lego company, which is approaching 60 years of business, was built on plastic. But the Danish toy behemoth is now investing millions in replacing it with a eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative. By 2030, the corporation has promised to replace all 60 billion blocks it manufactures each and every year with a hemp alternative that will be indistinguishable from its iconic plastic bricks.