Letting go of your LEGOs
For more than 80 years, LEGO® bricks, affectionately known as “LEGOs,” have been a favorite toy of both children and adults around the world. They’ve been named “Toy of the Century” twice, and it’s easy to understand why.
Who doesn’t feel fondness for those colorful blocks, the satisfying way they snapped together, the magical worlds they could create, and even the stabbing pain of stepping on one? Whether you or your children were precise builders of intricate LEGO sets or artists that dreamed up their own creations, if you’re reading this post, LEGOs probably played a special part in your life.
Sadly, there comes a time when that big box of unused (but not unloved!) LEGOs is just taking up space that could be used for something more practical. While it’s hard to let them go, rest assured that there are plenty of ways you can help your LEGOs go on to live their best lives.
Recycle your LEGOs
I have some bad news: LEGOs are incredibly difficult to recycle because they’re made with #7 plastic. Some towns do allow them in curbside recycling, but it’s very rare. Others have a special day set aside once a year for “hard plastic” recycling.
If your town doesn’t recycle #7 plastic and you toss your LEGOs into the recycling bin anyway, you’ve just contaminated a whole batch of recycling, and this is a huge problem.
According to USA Today, “The value of recovered waste products has plummeted over the past five years, and the amount of effort required to extract them has risen.” This means that if your LEGOs contaminate a batch of recycling, the whole truckload may end up in the landfill. This is not only an environmental issue, contamination ultimately makes it more expensive for your town to process recycling.
If LEGO cares about the environment, so should you, so check with your town’s trash and recycling division for their policies before tossing your LEGOs into the recycling bin. If they don’t allow it, find out if they have a hard plastic recycling day.
Or better yet...
Donate your LEGOs
If the thought of recycling your Legos makes you think of this bone-chilling scene from Toy Story 3, rest assured that a far better life awaits your LEGOs when you donate them.
Many schools and toy stores would be happy to receive your LEGOs, and so might the little girl next door. Go for a walk around your town or use social media to find out if anyone in your community would like to adopt them.
UPDATE: As of October 8, 2019, LEGO and Give Back Box are partnering to pilot LEGO Replay, a program to give LEGO bricks back to the community.
Give Back Box will steam and clean the bricks, then repackage them by hand and put them into brand new boxes to be distributed to Teach For America and Boys and Girls Club of Boston. You can print a shipping label at Give Back Box.
If you’d rather donate elsewhere, here are some wonderful organizations that are just waiting for your LEGOs to bring joy to a child’s life.
- BrickDreams — Led by 15-year-old twin brothers, BrickDreams is a charity that changes lives. They collect, clean, and redistribute LEGO bricks to children in need.
- Brick Recycler — Brick Recycler takes your new and used LEGOs and carefully sorts and matches pieces with what happens to be needed at the time (e.g., wheels, space themed, robotics, architecture, Star Wars, etc.). They then make them available to kids and clubs who can enjoy the thrill of these pieces for the first time, or find those missing pieces they are longing for.
- The Giving Brick — The Giving Brick takes your bins, bags, and boxes of old LEGOs, cleans them, and makes awesome new sets for kids in need. They currently donate to CASA of Jackson County, Missouri. CASA is a corps of volunteers that serve as court advocates for children in the foster care system.
Sell your LEGOs
According to a study by Victoria Dobrynskaya at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Russia, “LEGO investments outperform large stocks, bonds, gold and other alternative investments, yielding the average return of at least 11% (8% in real terms) in the sample period 1987-2015.”
While this phenomenon has been criticized by some as a meaningless coincidence, what have you got to lose by trying?? Below are some places you can sell them.
- BrickLink — BrickLink's peer-to-peer, global marketplace connects passionate buyers and sellers of hard-to-find LEGO parts and sets. They have a comprehensive, searchable catalog of LEGO items and a community for people who share LEGO interests.
- eBay — Find out what’s trending and what’s making top dollar, then put your LEGOs up for auction to more than 177 million users.
If you want to get really serious about profiting from your LEGOs, check out Flipsy’s Ultimate LEGO Selling Guide for everything you need to know. And if you want to explore a fascinating subculture, Google “selling LEGOs” and prepare to lose hours of your life down a rabbit hole!
If you want to stay local, try selling your LEGOs on NextDoor or Craigslist. And if you’re not too particular about how your LEGOs will be used and you don’t need them to put your kids through college, try one of the sites below.
- Bricks & Minifigs — This one-stop aftermarket LEGO shop specializes in new and used LEGO items. They buy and trade all LEGO products, from bulk tubs to storage unit-sized collections. With the largest assortment of new, used and retired sets, they keep collections growing.
- decluttr — decluttr buys LEGOs by the pound, and their mobile app lets you scan your items' barcodes. Get free instant valuation, pack your items into a box, and ship it to decluttr for free. You'll receive payment the day after your box arrives at their warehouse.
- Replay Bricks — Fill out an online form to get an estimated offer on your batch of LEGOs, then ship them using the free shipping label provided. You'll receive payment in about a week.
- Toy Brick Brigade — Founded in 2004 by LEGO enthusiasts, this online marketplace sells new and used LEGO parts to customers world-wide. Submit pictures, your ZIP code, and the weight of your lot, and they'll make you an offer. If you accept, they'll give you a free shipping label and you'll receive payment via PayPal.
For more details on these sellers and others, see Where to Sell LEGO on Flipsy.
And they lived snappily...I mean happily... ever after
Whether you want to make a handsome profit, donate them to a worthy cause, or give them to the neighbor kid to enjoy, there are plenty of options for passing on your LEGOs’ legacy.
If you’re having a hard time letting go, snap a picture of them, then picture the joy they’re going to bring to someone else’s life!
P.S. Still have LEGOS left and need ideas for how to store them?
Check out Professional Organizer Leslie Huikko's blog post with 6 questions to ask to become a LEGO storage master!