How do I store plastic figurines?
Q. Dear Donia,
I am currently working on storing my Star Wars figurine collection. I am putting individual figurines in low-density polyethelene bags with a small hole punched out for breathing. These bags are then going to be placed in trays (to help with organiztion) inside banker boxes. My question is, should I go with acid/lignin-free boxes/trays or would standard acid-free boxes/tray be fine? I will also likely be putting unbagged vehicles (plastic, with stickers) in the boxes too. I know that if I were storing a paper-based collection then the acid/lignen-free would be the way to go, but I'm wondering if it makes a difference with plastics. I appreciate any advice you may have for me. Thanks, Sean
A. Dear Sean,
It sounds like you are taking some good steps to preserve your collection. To answer your question, I don't think you would need to worry about whether you have acid-free boxes or trays. Newer plastics generally do not respond to acidity so they should be fine.
What plastics do respond to are plasticizers. Plasticizers are in all plastics and give them their specific characteristics. If you store your figurines in the plastic bags, even with the hole in them, you will be trapping them in with their off gassing plasticizers. This confinement in a closed environment could lead to increased rates of deterioration. The better way to wrap your figurines is in tissue paper rather than plastic. This will allow the plasticizers to more easily escape and not affect your collection.
I know this was not exactly the answer you were looking for but I don't want you to find your collection damaged before its time.