A new paper published by a team of American researchers mentions that LEGO bricks can withstand the waters of the ocean for up to 1,300 years. The researchers wanted to learn more about the popular toys, which are notorious for their impressive resilience to damage.
They collected several bricks from beaches and compared them with similar pieces that were in pristine condition. While the endurance varied from 100 years to 1,300 years, it is clear that they are quite sturdy, and people should be more careful when they wish to throw them away, a rule which is available for other plastics as well.
Volunteers have collected these bricks from organizations like Peninsula Beach Care, and the Lego Lost at Sea Project. Over a decade, the volunteers collected thousands of LEGO bricks and an impressive amount of plastic waste. Previous research infers that many blocks were lost during visits to the beach or an imperfect waste process.
The study on LEGO bricks
Fifty pieces of LEGO, which are made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (or ABS), were washed, weighted, and surveyed by the researchers, who also focused on the size of the studs. An X-ray spectrometer was used to trace the chemical traits of the pieces, which allowed researchers to estimate their age by tracking down elements that aren’t used in the manufacturing process anymore.
During the next state, the found bricks were compared with pristine ones that were manufactured within the same timeframe, with the results being quite interesting as the team learned how resilient they are.
This quality has been one of the primary attraction factors for a long while since it is known that LEGO sets can last for generations in the right hands. Visible damage was present in some cases, inferring that even pieces that are intact can break down into microplastics. The paper was published in a scientific journal.