Weathered Lego bricks found on a beach

Samples of weathered toy bricks, made between 1950-1980, by Lego (UK) Limited and collected by beachcomber Tracey Williams in Cornwall as part of her project Lego Lost at Sea. They are made of plastic (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and weathered due to being exposed to the marine environment for a long time. There are two red bricks, one grey brick, one yellow brick, and one white brick.

In 1997, a cargo full of Lego fell into the sea off the coast of Cornwall in the UK; pieces of Lego are still being found across beaches. These weathered Lego bricks were collected by Tracey Williams, beachcombing writer, on the Cornish coast. Williams undertook a collaborative research study into the persistence of plastic pollution in the marine environment with Dr Andrew Turner at the International Marine Litter Research Unit (MLRU), University of Plymouth. HP printer cartridges from another cargo spill were also the subject of research on plastic pollution. Dr Turner analysed the degradation of the Lego, assessing the chemical leaching of toxic materials and their impact on marine ecology. Findings were published in 2020 in the journal Environmental Pollution.