doug72

Lego to consider renting bricks !!

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Could work if you want to try out a set, but other than that I don't think it's an overly great idea.

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3 minutes ago, JimDude said:

There was a Belgian company which did exactly this: rent out sets.

It was a very short-lived company...

It's like the report says: rent sets out and you ain't getting all of them back.

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I've not read the article yet but I can't see it being a good idea for Lego. Imagine the cost of losing permanent sales and having to count all the pieces once they are returned to you compared to the rental income. 

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I wonder what the state of the bricks will be... And Technic is especially susceptible to damage - broken gears, bent axles, etc...

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From the article:

He said many would “probably never see the light of day” and there was no current plan to trial a rental scheme.

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I get that TLG is looking for new ideas and business models, but I don't see any advantages at the moment. From a customer point of view, renting schemes make sense for items which are subject to short time use, quickly changing fashion, a lot of wear during use,and/or come with tax related advantages. Arguably, none of these are really applicable to LEGO sets.

Additionally, this poses so many practical questions: How will everybody in the supply chain keep track of all those tiny parts? Will they take the rental effect into account (“Don’t be gentle, it’s a rental”)?  Will parts be cleaned somewhere in the chain? Will a customer get the choice between receiving a brand new set or a (heavily) used version?  Will you need to disassemble the set into parts when handing them in and if so, who will check is has been done correctly and all parts are functioning? Will they differentiate between slight variations in parts? Will parts need to be marked or can anybody swap their own used parts with better parts from a rented sets, etc … It sounds like they are aware of these issues, but I really hope somebody at TLG does a proper Life Cycle Analysis of these ideas, because I think the solutions for the logistical challenges will probably offset any sustainability gain.

They are trying to solve a perceived marketing issue, not a customer need with this scheme.

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To solve marketing issues, TLG need to stop reinventing the wheel and produce sets people actually want.

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Renting bricks....

<Insert Lego facepalm image here>

And.. WHAT PLASTIC WASTE?

Because everyone I know considering dumping anything Lego already has a queue of people waiting to take it.

 

 

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They could donate the used rental pieces assuming they didn't get a depreciation write-off.  If need to be destroyed, then there's recycling. 

 

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There was a company like this called “pley” and I don’t think they are around anymore. I rented a few sets from them to try them out and they were always missing pieces.

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Having now read the article I too was struck by the focus on so called plastic waste. OK, perhaps the plastic bags that makes up part of the packaging could be replaced with little numbered cardboard boxes but that's about it. Certainly the bricks themselves shouldn't ever be considered as waste. 

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5 hours ago, allanp said:

Having now read the article I too was struck by the focus on so called plastic waste. OK, perhaps the plastic bags that makes up part of the packaging could be replaced with little numbered cardboard boxes but that's about it. Certainly the bricks themselves shouldn't ever be considered as waste. 

They're simply a delayed problem

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14 hours ago, aol000xw said:

Renting bricks....

<Insert Lego facepalm image here>

And.. WHAT PLASTIC WASTE?

Because everyone I know considering dumping anything Lego already has a queue of people waiting to take it.

More or less exactly what I was thinking about. Maybe a more realistic reason is to not only cash once on a LEGO set, but to cash forever on a LEGO set (like in software subscriptions).

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18 hours ago, Cumulonimbus said:

They are trying to solve a perceived marketing issue, not a customer need with this scheme.

Eh what?  This is an oxymoron.  Customer need is marketing.

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16 hours ago, aol000xw said:

... WHAT PLASTIC WASTE? ....

I don't think they are talking about the bricks themselves, but more the waste and emissions produced during the manufacturing process. Oil based raw materials, world wide logistical chains and the plastic waste during the injection molding process are the mayor contributions to the environmental impact .

As stated in the article:  " Lego reportedly emits around a million tons of carbon dioxide each year, with about three-quarters coming from raw materials that go into factories." This explains their research into alternative material sources but the rent-a-brick idea still does not make sense because it doesn't improve any of those contributions. In fact I'm willing to bet that on the whole, the impact will be even worse because they will introduce even more logistics and potentially add a cleaning step.

Replacing the plastic bags for packaging could probably help, but other "solutions" should be considered very carefully. There are many examples where a well intended change in a product or service resulted in an even worse environmental impact that before. That is why a tool called LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) is used to get an overview of all the contributions before and after a proposed change. Often the outcome is very surprising: a plastic product can be the most sustainable choice if for example the life span is very long (as with LEGO bricks). Recycling products also require big industrial processes which use power, water and chemicals. Even biodegrading has its issues: it produces methane if done incorrectly, a gas which has 20 times the impact on the greenhouse effect that CO2.

In short: Truely improving the environmental impact of a product is a complicated question. Renting out brick is just marketing babble.

1 hour ago, andythenorth said:

Eh what?  This is an oxymoron.  Customer need is marketing.

Maybe I phrased it wrong, but I meant that I don't think TLG customers have any wishes or needs to rent bricks instead of buying them. The renting scheme is only good for creating a certain company image. Lately TLG apparently has received a label of being a polluting company (thanks to Greenpeace) and now is desparate to do damage control. The point I'm trying to make above is that plastic is not evil per se, it greatly depends on the application. And I think that LEGO bricks is one of those cases where it is and will continue to be a good idea to make them from ABS.

Edited by Cumulonimbus

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Well then what they need to do is find ways of capturing the carbon emissions, instead of renting bricks or selling us bricks that rot over time...

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14 minutes ago, aol000xw said:

Well then what they need to do is find ways of capturing the carbon emissions, instead of renting bricks or selling us bricks that rot over time...

Do the plant based bricks rot over time? 

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20 minutes ago, allanp said:

Do the plant based bricks rot over time? 

The short answer: no they do not.

The long answer: a biobased plastic is not a synonym for a biodegradable plastic. The "sugar cane" bricks where all the fuss is about in several topics here are not actual sugar bricks. They are made from a very normal, non-biodegradable thermoplastic called Poly ethylene (PE). The difference is that the ethylene part is not derived form oil but from for an alcohol distilled from the sugar cane. These bricks will wear and tear just as quickly whether they are oil based or biobased. The difficulty TLG has is that PE is not as rigid and hard wearing as ABS (a styrene based plastic), which is why so far they are only used for the plant bricks. Finding a bio based version of ABS is a big challenge which has not been solved yet.

Even a plastic which is sold as a biodegrade plastic, like PLA (which TLG does not use) only degrades in very specific conditions like a high temperature and with the addition of certain enzymes. These parts do not simply dissolve when left in your garden.

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Honestly I don't know, But I already had very bad experiences with some of the cables used in PF adapters and mindstorms,

Like this

legorcxcablerot.jpeg

The kind of plastic based on plants they are using is polyethylene I think. It is quite different from ABS, softer and more flexible, so not a feasible solution for everything. Polyethylene is quite stable, so no concerned by now... but just look at that picture...

I don't know what changes can they make to the ABS but when I see cracks on new not stressed parts....

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3 hours ago, aol000xw said:

Well then what they need to do is find ways of capturing the carbon emissions, instead of renting bricks or selling us bricks that rot over time...

+lots.

TLG ain't renting bricks.

The rental is just a newspaper putting a flag up a flagpole, newspapers need ad clicks.  Lego need to address consumer concerns about plastic and carbon emissions (some valid, some less-valid).  Lego give an interview to try and be ahead of the issue, journalist on deadline spins it to get most eyeballs, news site gets traffic, and a lot of people express a lot of opinions about a non-thing.  Happy days.  What a time to be alive, so excite. such wow.  Etc.

 

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@andythenorth Pretty much - the article even said they're not renting bricks. It's pretty obvious some people in this thread didn't bother to read the whole article.

Edited by Bartybum

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4 hours ago, Bartybum said:

... the article even said they're not renting bricks. ...

I agree the title is a bit misleading and smells like click-bait. The focus of the article is not the renting scheme, but the search for solutions to achieve less environmental impact which TLG find important enough to invest millions of moneys in. So it actually says that they're not renting bricks yet. TLG is considering many ideas to reduce their footprint on this world and according to them, renting could be an option if the technical issues could be solved.

That said, I still think it is important for us AFOLs, as part of their consumer market, to give constructive feedback when those ideas are hoisted up that flagpole. This gives TLG some early warning about how those ideas will be received by the general public and just maybe adapt the ideas to our input. As long those comments are a bit more constructive than "renting bricks is stupid".

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