Re-inventing Lego Bricks for a New Generation

Re-inventing Lego Bricks for a New Generation

September 19, 2018

Lego has vowed to remain innovative while producing the same 86-year-old product.

Long-time favorites among children all over the world, Lego bricks have made successful appearances in movies and in video games to attract new generations. Despite the longevity of the legendary toys on the marketplace, Lego wants to cement its image as an educator by producing an environmentally friendly product.

Lego bricks are made of durable, safe, polished, and colorful petroleum-based plastic. The search for a plant-based alternative has proven challenging, but Lego is determined to keep trying.


Video Spotlight: Lego to launch sustainable bricks made from sugar cane


This post is based on the New York Times article, Lego Wants to Completely Remake Its Toy Bricks (Without Anyone Noticing), by S. Reed, August 31, 2018; and the YouTube video, Lego to launch sustainable bricks made from sugar cane, by Dezeen, March 5, 2018. Image source: Cr-Management GmbH & Co. KG/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Which one(s) of the Three Rs does Lego pursue in its current manufacturing operations? How would you characterize the company’s carbon footprint?

Guidance: Review the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. Currently, Lego reduces its use of petroleum-based plastic by using Continue reading

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China Wants Only the Cleanest Trash

China Wants Only the Cleanest Trash

September 14, 2018

The Chinese government recently banned imports of low-grade recyclables.

For decades, Western countries sent their paper waste and plastic trash to China where they were sorted manually before being processed and re-used in manufacturing. To overcome the severe shortage of recyclables caused by the ban, Chinese manufacturers are now setting up processing facilities in the US and sending the recyclable materials to China.

Some existing US recycling programs have struggled to meet the purity standards imposed by the Chinese government.


Video Spotlight: Plastic China (scroll down to the trailer)


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, China Wants Only the Cleanest Trash, by M. Sasso, August 22, 2018. Image sources: frameangel/123RF and Ralph125/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions

1. According to the article, why has the Chinese government banned imports of “dirty” trash?

Guidance: Trash sent to China contained contaminants which can be hazardous (e.g. lead and mercury) and also hinder the recycling process. Other reasons include China’s anti-pollution crackdown and the 2017 release of the documentary “Plastic China,” which featured Chinese children sorting trash in piles of garbage imported from other countries. The documentary put pressure on China to stop such practices and therefore Continue reading

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