Lego Launches Recycling Program

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.


Discuss the following vocabulary with your teacher

toy – n. something a child plays with

  • He was very excited about his birthday present as he always wanted this toy. 

brick – n. a block of something

  • They used a standard brick for their foundation in building the house.

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

  • Humans have a pretty high level of sustainability as long as we take care of our bodies.


Answer the following questions about the article

  1. How long has Lego been popular?
  2. What is the Lego reply program about?
  3. What is the name of the Lego company's vice president of sustainability
  4. What is the name of two groups that are taking part in the test program? 


Make a sentence

Make a sentence using the following words

  • toy
  • brick
  • sustainability



Have a discussion about the following questions

  1. Did you have Legos as a child?
  2. Did you or any of your family go all out in building Lego's (eg. Star Wars spaceship)?
  3. Do you know of any other toy that has been around for that long?
  4. What were your favorite toy's when you were growing up?