LEGO is starting a new pilot program called the Give Back Box, which takes used LEGO bricks and cleans them for reuse. The repackaged boxes will be given to Teach for America and the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, giving new life to old toys that aren’t being used.
“We want the bricks to be played with as much as possible,” LEGO Group VP Tim Brooks told Fast Company. LEGO is working to become more environmentally sustainable, and is even starting to make its toys out of plant-based plastic instead of petroleum-based plastic. By 2030, LEGO plans to make all of their products out of plant-based or recycled materials.
LEGO bricks are recyclable, but the company is encouraging people to reuse first. The building toys can be played with for years without breaking, and are often passed between friends and family members.
But sometimes, families don’t find anyone to whom to pass them along. That’s where the Lego Give Back Box comes in. The program will steam clean the toys and repackage them by hand to maintain LEGO’s quality standards. “We want to make sure that all kids are getting a great experience,” Brooks said. “It shouldn’t be that you get a really inferior experience just because the bricks are donated.”
“We don’t want to compete with anything that’s already going on, if people are already giving bricks away to friends or family or local charities . . . [LEGO] deserves to be played with by multiple generations,” Brooks added.
But the Give Back Box is likely to be successful — LEGO’s research shows about 35% of its customers said they would be “extremely likely” to participate in the new take-back program if they had access to it.
Brooks is calling the Give Back Box an example of a circular economy, where materials are used, reused, and donated in a continuous cycle. “We want to show that great quality toys like LEGO can be used in lots of repeating circles.”