Lego plants are going green with some help from actual plants

Lego plants sugarcane plastic

Those building blocks you just love to step on in the middle of the night are about to reduce their impact on the environment. Lego announced that its leaves, bushes, and trees pieces will be made from a plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane. They will make their first appearance in Lego sets as early as this year. Production has already begun on the sustainable elements.

“At the Lego Group, 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 at the Lego Group, said. “This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all Lego bricks using sustainable materials.”

The greener green Lego elements are being made from polyethylene, a plastic that is both soft and durable. Lego purists need not worry about a difference in quality or feel, as the Danish toy maker says that the new pieces are “technically identical to those produced using conventional plastic.” The plant-based plastic has been tested to meet Lego’s standards for safety.

“Lego products have always been about providing high-quality play experiences, giving every child the chance to shape their own world through inventive play. Children and parents will not notice any difference in the quality or appearance of the new elements, because plant-based polyethylene has the same properties as conventional polyethylene,” Brooks said.

The Lego Group partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA) to support sustainably and responsibly sourced plastic and raw material for the bioplastics industry. Lego’s new plant-based plastic is certified by the Bonsucro Chain of Custody for responsibly sourced sugarcane.

Polyethylene elements will amount to 1 to 2 percent of the total plastic used by Lego. For the most part, other pieces will still be made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), an oil-based plastic.

Lego has committed to using sustainable materials in “core products and packaging” by 2030. It is aiming for zero waste in the company’s operations, and will introduce sustainable paper pulp trays for the Lego advent calendar sets, which will reduce the amount of plastic waste going to landfills.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (June 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

A giant new solar farm in Texas will harness the sun’s rays to … brew beer?

Brewing beer is surprisingly energy intensive. With a giant new solar farm in Texas, the world’s largest beer manufacturer promises to brew 100% of its beverages using renewable energy.
Gaming

E3 2019: All the games we expected to see, and some we didn’t

E3 2019 is the biggest gaming event of the year. It will be loaded with new game announcements and details. These are the games we expect to see at E3 2019, and the games we won't see.
Emerging Tech

This drone with hands looks like a nightmare straight out of Black Mirror

This unlikely drone-with-hands creation is the work of Federico Ciccarese, the brains behind YouBionic, a bionic hand project that has evolved far beyond its original brief. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

This crazy-looking robot uses microspines on its legs to climb up walls

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have built a bioinspired robot, which uses microspines on its feet to grip onto rough surfaces. This allows it to climb up very steep gradients. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Got $400 million to burn? The world’s largest airplane is up for sale

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, is up for sale. All it'll cost you is $400 million dollars. The brainchild of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the plane was supposed to make space travel more accessible and affordable.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Florida’s autonomous vehicle law, E3 updates, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we take a look at the biggest trending stories in tech, including Florida allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road, Atari’s new gaming system, E3 updates, high-speed rail, and more.
Emerging Tech

Ex astris, scientia: Star Trek logo spotted on the surface of Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been boldly going to Mars and capturing images since 2005, and now it has spotted something where no man has gone before: a structure on the planet's surface which will look familiar to Trekkies.
Emerging Tech

Adobe develops tool to identify Photoshopped images of faces

With deepfake videos making headlines, and campaigns against the Photoshopping of models, people are more aware than ever of the digital manipulation of images. Now Adobe wants to give tools to users to let them spot faked images.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will pave the way for manned missions to Mars

Survival on Mars is a massive challenge for humanity. To cope with the highly variable temperatures, lack of oxygen and water, and high levels of radiation, the Mars 2020 rover will carry instruments to pave the way for human exploration.
Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Emerging Tech

Impossible Foods struggles to keep up with Impossible Burger demand

Red Robin and White Castle have reported Impossible Burger shortages, as it appears that Impossible Foods is struggling to keep up with demand. The company will be selling its meat-like patties in retail outlets within the year.
Emerging Tech

Pass the salt please: Table salt found on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Astronomers have spotted something unexpectedly familiar on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa -- sodium chloride, better known as table salt. This suggests the under-ice oceans on Europa are salty and similar to our oceans on Earth.