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Lego unveils prototype recycled plastic brick made from bottles

Lego Group lays the groundwork for a recycling revolution for future brick kits.

These prototype recycled bricks are clicking with the Lego Group's sustainability plans.

Lego Group

Lego has set a goal for itself: make all of its products from sustainable sources by 2030. It took a big step in that direction with Wednesday's unveiling of a prototype brick made from recycled plastic. It looks normal, like any other Lego brick, but its contents are special.

"The new prototype, which uses PET plastic from discarded bottles, is the first brick made from a recycled material to meet the company's strict quality and safety requirements," the Lego Group said in a statement.

The recycled-plastic brick has been in development for several years. The company said it tested over 250 variations on PET plastic. "PET" stands for polyethylene terephthalate, a type of plastic commonly used in bottles and food containers. Lego's formulation includes strengthening additives.

This is what the recycled plastic looks like before it's made into Lego brick form.

Lego Group

The prototype bricks are a milestone, but they're not ready for prime time yet. Lego said it will take "some time" before the bricks appear as products. The clickable pieces will next go through at least a year-long testing phase. 

The Lego Group has already committed to testing recyclable paper bags in place of single-use plastic bags to corral the pieces inside it kits. It has also been making softer kit parts -- like trees and plants -- from a sugarcane-derived plastic.

While the materials may be innovative, future Lego bricks made from recycled plastic should be indistinguishable from the sturdy, old-school bricks. Your bare feet won't know the difference.