One hundred to 1,300 years is the estimated total lifespan of a LEGO brick in our marine ecosystem, which is the final station for most non-recycled plastic packaging.
With just nine percent of the world’s plastics recycled, companies increasingly recognize their power to pave the way for a better future, and those leading the way are rethinking and innovating to solve the problem of plastic pollution by reusing and recycling materials rather than throwing away and creating other waste.
LEGO plans to invest US $ 400 million in transforming its entire business model – a bold move that will alleviate fan grievances about the environmental impacts of iconic bricks that are precious around the world. Made from crude oil and with an annual production figure of several billion, the company has taken decisive action by teaming up with experts to develop the ideal prototype: bricks made of 100% recycled PET plastic.
“When you buy recycled material instead of new material, you are supporting an infrastructure that values reuse rather than extraction.” – Hélène Barbour
“We want the kids to know we’re working on it and to be with them on the trip. Experimentation and failure are an important part of learning and innovation. Just like kids build, unravel and rebuild with LEGO bricks at home, so do we in our lab, ”says Tim Brooks, LEGO Group vice president for environmental responsibility.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, of which LEGO is a member, is committed to the reuse, recycling and reuse of materials leading to more durable and sustainable products, as well as a model for the future of manufacturing where innovation takes place. This prevents plastic from entering the environment and circulating through the system.
“Everything we do at the LEGO Group is child-centered, and our sustainability ambitions are no different. We are focused on building a better planet for future generations, which includes protecting the world’s natural resources. Becoming more circular is key to achieving this, ”says Brooks.
The system, which involves a cycle of consumption and production, is attracting the attention of global brands.
Top 5 companies for packaging innovation
A pioneer of sustainable production in the fashion industry, the outerwear manufacturer began its green journey in 1993, turning discarded bottles into recycled polyester for clothing. The company is now incorporating production waste and unused clothing into its growing list of items to be turned into polyester fibers for a line of new clothing that must compete to meet high industry standards without the use of petroleum.
“When you buy recycled materials instead of new materials, you are supporting an infrastructure that values reuse rather than extraction,” says Helena Barbour, vice president of Sportswear, Patagonia.
Following a circular plastic model, Nestlé is ensuring that no packaging ends up as waste in landfills or in waterways with 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025, and a goal of reducing one-third virgin plastics. As a company in the food industry, it is developing functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging through the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences and has already created paper-based solutions in some countries.
Procter and Gamble
With 65 brands in its portfolio, P&G is working towards a circular economy with a target of 100% recyclable or reusable packaging, similar to LEGO, by 2030. The company also has a mission to halve its use of virgin petroleum. plastic-based by the end of 2021.
In Europe, the new aluminum bottles from Pantene, Aussie, Head & Shoulders and Herbal Essences are designed to be refilled with recyclable pouches containing the product. This represents around 300 million fewer virgin plastic bottles produced each year.
“This new packaging innovation will help make packaging reuse compelling, while enabling a reduction in virgin plastic in line with P & G’s Ambition 2030 commitment,” said Virginie Helias, Chief Sustainability Officer, P&G.
For Apple, the focus has been on reducing quantities and modifying materials, such as replacing petroleum plastics and virgin materials with recycled and fiber-based alternatives.
The iPhone 6’s packaging, for example, included two platters compared to the iPhone 7, which has been redesigned to include only one, with the added benefit of being produced from fiber instead. than oil. The plastic wrap to secure cables and EarPods has also been replaced with cardboard, which represents an overall 84% reduction in plastic over both generations of phones. As small as changing the outer packaging of the box packaging from virgin material to recycled material resulted in a 30 percent increase in recycled content.
It’s probably no surprise that with more than 400 brands in 190 countries, 2.5 billion people consume Unilever products every day. With this in mind, the company has set itself the mission of improving its infrastructure in order to increase the number of recycled plastic available. By 2025, it plans to reduce virgin plastic used in packaging by 50% and increase the recycled plastic content to 25%. In its portfolio of brands, Unilever is committed to designing products that are fully reusable, recyclable or compostable, and to collect and process more plastic than it sells.
Read more : 10 of the most sustainable companies in the world