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What is LEGO made of?

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What did one minifigure say to the other? Lego! Fun fact: there's another layer to this joke. The name LEGO comes from the Danish words "leg godt," meaning "play well."

So what are the building blocks of the world-famous building blocks? Most LEGO pieces are made from a type of plastic called ABS, which stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. Try saying that three times fast! ABS plastic is widely used in stuff like appliances, cars, computers and pipe fittings. It can also be used for 3D printing, although we have a different kind in our Digital Innovation Hubs. (Yes, there are 3D printers at the library! Come visit when we reopen.)

During manufacturing, tons of plastic granules are heated to a temperature of about 230 degrees Celsius. The melted plastic is poured into molds and shaped into the bricks you know and love. There are also elastic and silicone parts in some sets. And did you know that LEGO is technically the largest tire maker in the world? LEGO tires use yet another type of plastic, the kind found in the soles of your shoes.

In 2018, LEGO launched their first product made of 98% plant-based materials. The "plants from plants" pieces are made from a plastic produced from sustainably sourced sugarcane. No, these mini trees aren't edible. But here's some food for thought the next time you ask for a shiny new toy. What is it made of? How much waste does it produce? Do you need all that packaging?

LEGO has come a long way since its early days as a wooden toy maker. The brand has expanded into books and movies, robotics, even entire theme parks. As a company grows bigger, what do you think happens to its environmental impact? How can we, as consumers, convince businesses to use resources responsibly? What solutions can you come up with to build a better future and make sure everything is awesome for our planet?

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