Lego Bricks- How Long???
We all love Lego – especially my son (who is now grown up with a family, but still has Lego models all around his home office!) but I don’t think any of us realised the following facts about how long it takes for a lego brick to disintegrate.
Read on – it’s really interesting and go the the Read More section at the bottom to get the full article.
A Lego Brick That Falls in The Ocean Could Still Be Found 1,000 Years From Now
18 MARCH 2020
The world’s oceans are awash with millions of tiny plastic Lego pieces, and these toys-turned-pollutants are not going anywhere anytime soon.
New research has found those classic Lego bricks take between 100 and 1,300 years to fully disintegrate at sea, depending on variations in the plastic’s composition and the marine weathering it experiences.
In 1997, nearly 5 million bits of Lego on a container ship fell overboard. Estimates also predict that over 2 million blocks have been flushed down the toilet by children, and depending on how effective waste treatment was at the time, an unknown proportion of those flushed in the 70s and 80s may be bobbing around in the waves, too.
In the past decade, voluntary organisations like the LEGO Lost at Sea Project have recovered thousands of plastic pieces from our beaches, but if these toys are really as sturdy as the new research suggests, we’ve got our work cut out for us. In all likelihood, these tiny little blocks will keep coming in waves for centuries to come.
“Lego is one of the most popular children’s toys in history and part of its appeal has always been its durability,” says Andrew Turner from the University of Plymouth, who studies the chemical properties of marine litter.
“It is specifically designed to be played with and handled, so it may not be especially surprising that despite potentially being in the sea for decades it isn’t significantly worn down. However, the full extent of its durability was even a surprise to us.”
Collecting 50 Lego blocks from the beaches of southwest England, researchers compared chemicals in the weathered samples to archived Lego blocks in their original condition.
(Turner et al., Environmental Pollution, 2020)
The classic Lego brick is made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and while the company hopes to use more sustainable materials by 2030, this tough polymer has already done more than enough harm.
While weathered blocks from the beach showed various degrees of weakening, yellowing, blunting, fracturing and fouling, researchers were surprised to find the toys largely intact.
Read more at: https://www.sciencealert.com/those-little-lego-bricks-could-survive-in-the-ocean-for-more-than-1-000-years