Lego ditching single-use plastic bags in kits, eyes paper replacements

Lego will test recyclable paper bags starting in 2021.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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The Lego Group will test out paper bags for wrangling loose bricks in 2021.

Lego Group

There's a certain process involved with starting a new Lego kit. First you open the box, then check the instructions, then open a zillion little plastic bags full of loose bricks and parts. That last step could feel very different soon. 

The Lego Group will move away from single-use plastic bags in its kits, the group announced on Tuesday. "From 2021, Forest Stewardship Council-certified recyclable paper bags will be trialed in boxes," the company said.

Lego said the shift will take some time as it searches for a new material that "must be durable, lightweight and enhance the building experience." The toy company found the paper bags tested well with children and parents. 

The phasing out of single-use plastic falls in line with Lego's broader sustainability efforts.

The company developed a range of bricks made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane as it works toward a goal of making its products from sustainable materials by 2030. A 2020 study found that old-school Lego bricks could linger in the ocean for up to 1,300 years.  

The Lego Group also announced plans to invest up to $400 million over the next three years to accelerate its sustainability work. "As a company who looks to children as our role models, said CEO Niels Christiansen, "we are inspired by the millions of kids who have called for more urgent action on climate change."