New technology has a way of sneaking up on us. A few years ago, wind turbines were a curiosity. Now LEGO has introduced its own version — a 3 foot high structure made from 826 white plastic blocks. But these are not your father’s LEGO blocks. As befits the idea of sustainable energy from the wind, the blocks for the miniature plants in this set are the first from LEGO to be manufactured from sugarcane rather than petroleum.
“At Lego we want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and are working hard to make great play products for children using sustainable materials,” Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility for the company, told The Guardian earlier this year. “This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all Lego bricks using sustainable materials.”
The new sustainable material bricks are not biodegradable but can be recycled into new bricks, although precisely how that process might work is unclear. LEGO has linked up with the World Wildlife Foundation to create awareness about sustainable plastics and has joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance to promote the bioplastics industry.
According to a report in Curbed, LEGO partnered with the renewable energy company Vestas to create the wind turbine kit, which features three adjustable blades that rotate via an small electric motor. It has aircraft warning lights built in and a bucolic landscape nestled at its base that includes rolling green hills and an adorable country cottage with a white picket fence and a working porch light.
LEGO chose to introduce the wind turbine kit during NYC Climate Week to highlight both renewable energy and its sustainable bricks. It says it began discussing the project with Vestas more than 10 years ago. The fact that it is here now is proof that the renewable energy and sustainable plastic revolutions are both gathering speed. When our toys start reflecting those trends, you can be sure they are well on their way to becoming the new normal.
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