Lego’s shift a few years ago to selling 3D printers and blueprints for their blocks has seen their share value grow dramatically despite the naysayers who said they were committing commercial suicide.
Instead of selling blocks, they now sell 3D printers with biodegradable PLA filament and downloadable blueprints for an ever growing variety of blocks and other shapes.
Lego biodegradable PLA filament comes in a variety of colors and whilst they don’t have the strength (and plastic pollution potential) of the old blocks that last for decades and end up as landfill, you can also buy an extruder which grinds up the plastic and allows you to rebuild new pieces from the same material.
This innovation won them the 2025 Frost & Sullivan Green Manufacturing Excellence Awards and has resulted in an explosion of new designs of Lego Toys. Lego gained a strong resurgence since the Lego movie came out in 2014, but were concerned about being good corporate citizens and this initiative has ensured that they stay highly profitable despite the fact that they are no longer manufacturing their own blocks and toys.
When challenged about job losses, Lego VP of Manufacturing Morty Fied said that they are actually employing more people than before, because the block manufacture and packaging had been largely automated in factories and now they are employing many CAD toy design specialists and supporting horticulture where the raw materials are grown and extruded into biodegradable filament. He challenged other toy makers and manufacturers of plastic products to follow suit and help reduce the impact of plastic products to the environment.
Meanwhile in several countries such as India and many in Africa some forms of plastic waste are compatible for plastic extrusion with devices like the Filabot, another recent high flyer. This has resulted in people scrambling to recover waste plastics from landfill where they would have been an eyesore and dangerous pollutant for decades. Today’s rubbish is producing tomorrow’s prized toys and other products including tools and musical instruments.
I was just sitting down to dinner this evening and I heard this loud noise, POP, POP, POP, POP. It reminded me of back when I was a young fella riding a Triumph Saint which used to backfire when the timing was slightly out. At first I thought it was lightning, we seem to get a lot more storms these days, semi tropical. One minute the weather isn’t that bad, nek minit its persisting down. Perhaps Auckland weather has always been like that, but it does seem to be more dramatic these days.
I remember back in the day when that was a 12 hour flight and was an absolute major. You would lose pretty much a full day each way and arrive jetlagged heading for business trips to the USA. Now its a meal and a quick movie, it just about takes longer to get to and from the airport, through immigration and security than it does to get to Los Angeles.
I’d love to have another ride on that old Triumph again though, backfires and all.
Westfield has stemmed the tide of decreasing shoppers in malls this winter by providing dozens of Electric Vehicle charging stations at shopping malls around New Zealand and Australia. Over the last couple of years many people have been buying electric vehicles, but have found that the range of up to 160km, which wasn’t too bad during summer, reduced dramatically with the use of air conditioning and window heating to warm the car in winter.
This reduced range combined with a continuing decrease in the frequency of people going to shopping malls provided the impetus for Westfield to come up with a new loyalty program for shoppers combined with a mobile application.
Effectively by using their mobile loyalty app, shoppers are rewarded with credits they can use of various purchases, one of which can be redeemed by parking at one of the EV charging stations at the mall. This not only encourages people to visit the mall, but also to stay longer, whilst electric car owners make sure that their car is fully charged before they leave the mall. The application lets loyalty shoppers know when there is a car park available and guides them to it. It also alerts them when the car is fully charged.
A spokesperson for Westfield New Zealand said that already in the last 2 months they had seen significant use of the charging stations and many retailers, particularly fashion and the food halls and cafes have seen a regrowth in trade.
Event Cinemas have also announced that they are going to trial a number of EV chargers in selected movie theatres in Australia in conjunction with their CINE BUZZ loyalty program. Each time a CINE BUZZ member has purchased 5 movie tickets they will be entitled to a full car charge for free.
It took a couple of elections and a lot of pressure from the Green Party, but finally the feed in tariffs that we have been asking for over recent years have been implemented.
The tipping point was the ability to create liquid solar cells as nanocrystals that can be ‘printed’ onto other materials. Roof material manufacturers were able to design roofing sheets and tiles which look normal, but are in fact covered with solar cells.
Farmers have welcomed this technology and have covered farm buildings with solar cells reducing the problems caused by power outages in rural areas and reducing their overheads.
In addition to now having a sustainable power infrastructure for New Zealand, this initiative has generated a whole wave of new jobs in roofing materials design and manufacturing, installation, smart metering design and much more.
New Zealand has become a world leader in this technology and has once again been able to proudly call itself a clean green country.
Electric vehicles have become not only more viable with ease of access to electricity, but they are now truly green because the power generated to run them is no longer produced by sources requiring the use of fossil fuels.
Toyota came up with an innovative coup with the launch of their new NS5 hybrid car in New Zealand, bundling the electric car with solar panels designed to charge the car during the day while it is parked.
The car effectively comes with the solar panels and a voucher for them to be installed on the building, be it a house or an office.
The solar panels are designed so that fleet buyers can connect multiple panels like a jig-saw and have them connected to a smart power meter.
Government departments and corporations with sustainability policies have welcomed this new innovation as a great step forward in EV technology, designed to ensure that a lot of the electricity generated to power these vehicles comes from renewable energy rather than from other sources which may be less green.