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Lego Launches Recycling Program

Sawyer Roellchen, 5, plays with Legos in his family's new home at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 16, 2019.
Sawyer Roellchen, 5, plays with Legos in his family's new home at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 16, 2019.
Lego Launches Recycling Program
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Legos have been a popular toy for children for more than 60 years. When children get older, boxes of plastic Lego bricks often end up unused and stored in out-of-the-way places around the home. Parents sometimes end up throwing the Legos away.

Now, the Lego Group toy company is testing a program to make sure the unwanted bricks do not go to waste. The program is called Lego Replay. It aims to make sure the unwanted building blocks continue to make children happy.

Tim Brooks is the Lego company’s vice president of environmental sustainability. He told VOA, "Nearly all Lego bricks we see that are out there have lots more play value in them —multi-generations of play value. It's a waste of energy and resources to grind them up and make new bricks."

Brooks said the idea came from parents who do not know what to do with the old bricks. Placing old Legos in waste containers is not a good answer. Birds and other wildlife may try to eat what looks like colorful food -- with deadly results.

With the Lego Replay program, parents load unwanted Legos of all shapes and colors into boxes. Then, they go to the program website and print out a mailing label.

The boxes are sent to processing centers, where the bricks are sorted, cleaned and shipped to aid groups and donation centers.

Two groups taking part in the test program are Teach for America and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.

In the last two months, Brooks said, the two groups have received 3,000 boxes of Lego bricks. Users have downloaded about 9,000 shipping labels.

Brooks said the Lego bricks made 60 years ago can still be used as part of a Lego set manufactured just last week. He added, "You can't think of many things you can buy off the shelf today that work exactly with something you bought in the late 1950s..."

The Lego Replay test program is set to last through March. If it is successful, the program may be expanded to include other Lego products.

The Lego Group is also looking at other materials to use in their toys. While plastic has proved to be the strongest material, Lego has begun making some bricks out of sugar cane.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Kenneth Schwartz reported this story for VOA News. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

toy – n. something a child plays with

brick – n. a block of something

sustainability – n. the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.