LEGO's New Program Makes It Easy to Recycle Old Bricks & Donate Them to Kids in Need
It's now super-simple to pack up old LEGOs and donate them to children's non-profits across the U.S.
When kids are immersed in play, it can be nearly impossible to walk into a room and not see an explosion of LEGO bricks. But as time goes on, they might move onto newer or different versions of the toy, leaving a pile of bricks untouched for months or years on end. Now there's a better way for parents to deal than storing or stressing about the best way to donate them. On the heels of other philanthropic and sustainability-informed programs like Plants from Plants, LEGO Braille Bricks, and LEGO Audio & Braille Instructions, LEGO is now launching a new pilot program called LEGO® Replay, which will accept any and all previously used LEGO bricks and donate them to children’s non-profits in the United States. The effort is a collaboration with Give Back Box, Teach For America, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
Here's how it works: All you have to do is gather loose LEGO bricks, sets, or elements, pack 'em into a cardboard box, and go to www.lego.com/replay to print out a free UPS shipping label. When you mail it out, it goes to Give Back Box, a charity dedicated to “recycling” 11 million tons of unused clothing, footwear, and other textiles that end up in U.S. landfills each year. At the Give Back Box facility, each brick will be sorted, inspected by hand, and given a rigorous cleaning.
Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at the LEGO Group said in a press release, “We know people don’t throw away their LEGO bricks. The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren. 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."
The pilot program is the result of three years' work by Brooks and his team, as they aimed to ensure that the process would meet the highest quality and safety standards and adhered to U.S. regulations. They then connected with Give Back Box.
Monika Wiela, founder of Give Back Box, shared the press release, “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."
The majority of the elements will be donated to Teach For America, which will distribute them to thousands of classrooms across the country.
"Learning through play can have a tremendous impact on a child’s cognitive development. Through play, children develop fine motor skills, think creatively, and can learn how to problem solve through teamwork,” said Susan Asiyanbi, Teach For America’s chief operating and program officer. “But not everyone has access to such resources. LEGO Replay, and the instructional resources they provide educators, will help give more students access to this opportunity.”
In addition, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston will receive bricks for their after-school programs.
Both Teach For America and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston are expecting their first shipments next month. LEGO's goal? To complete the pilot in spring 2020 and consider a possible expansion of the program. Here's hoping it only continues to grow, as it is sure to benefit the environment and kids across the country.