A pilot scheme allowing consumers to return any old LEGO bricks and sets for donation to kids’ charities has been launched by the toy brick maker in the US.
The initiative, run in partnership with Give Back Box, Teach For America, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, is part of LEGO’s continuing sustainability efforts.
LEGO Replay lets anyone collect loose LEGO bricks, sets or elements, place them into a cardboard box, visit www.lego.com/replay to print out a free UPS shipping label, and send them off for processing. The toys will then be inspected, cleaned and distributed to non-profits to be enjoyed by a new generation of kids.
The project is spearheaded by Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group, who says the scheme aims to make the most of the fact “people don’t throw away their LEGO bricks”.
“The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren,” he says. “But others have asked us for a safe way to dispose of or to donate their bricks. With Replay, they have an easy option that's both sustainable and socially impactful.”
Tim and his team spent the past three years working on the project to ensure the process met the highest quality and safety standards. They then connected with Give Back Box, a charity dedicated to recycling 11 million tons of unused clothing, footwear, and other textiles that end up in US landfills each year.
Monika Wiela, the founder of Give Back Box, says: “I am excited to join the LEGO Group in this pilot programme. Growing up in Poland, I didn’t have many toys as a child, so this collaboration is rather personal for me. What’s better than giving a child the gift of play? For us, the number of donations we receive is critical to a successful campaign, so we’ve made it as easy as possible for folks at home to send in their idle bricks.”
Teach For America will receive the majority of the elements and will provide them to thousands of classrooms across the country. Bricks will also be sent to Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for their after-school programs. Both non-profits can expect to receive the first shipments this November.
Once the pilot is complete in spring 2020, LEGO says it will evaluate a possible expansion of the programme into new territories.