Scientists have been searching for ways to replace oil in the plastic manufacturing process for a great many years. One practical alternative is plant-based ethanol and over time, companies have began switching to this more sustainable option. LEGO, for instance, is now using ethanol from sugarcane to craft some of its plastic components.
Starting this year, LEGO will move its botanical elements -- trees, leaves, bushes, etc. -- completely to plant-based polyethylene. This plastic is derived from ethanol made from sustainable sugarcane.
By 2030, LEGO plans to have its "core products and packaging" made from sustainable materials:
“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. We are proud that the first LEGO elements made from sustainably sourced plastic are in production and will be in LEGO boxes this year. This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials,” said Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group.
According to LEGO, the plant-based plastic is "technically identical" to products using "conventional plastic". On the downside, it's not biodegradable, which is unfortunate, but it can be recycled.
Otherwise, it's hard to see the negatives. One less reason to feel guilty for picking this bad-boy up (even if it doesn't feature any plants).