What are nurdles and why are they a problem?

Erin O'Neill By: Erin O'Neill
Date posted: 12 April 2018

Have you ever heard of a nurdle? These small lentil-sized pellets make up nearly all of the plastic products we use everyday, and they’re a big problem for our seas.

Last time I went on a nurdle hunt with Fidra we found over half a million - how many will we find this time?

Catherine Gemmell,
Scotland Conservation Officer

Accidental spillage and mishandling means that billions of nurdles end up in the ocean, creating countless problems within the marine ecosystem.

The rising amount of nurdles that are being found in the seas are a cause of great concern for a number of reasons:

· Nurdles soak up pollutants and become toxic;

· Nurdles never disappear from the ocean completely, they just get smaller and smaller;

· Marine animals and seabirds mistake nurdles for food, allowing them to enter the food chain.

As an organisation, we are working hard to decrease the amount of nurdles in our oceans – and you can help fight the nurdle blight too.

We are working with the East Lothian Environmental Charity, Fidra, on an event called ‘The Great Technicolour Nurdle Hunt’ from April 13th - 16th. Join us at Ferrycraigs, North Queensferry, in Scotland for our own nurdle hunt, as part of the event, on Friday 13th at 1:30pm.

Catherine Gemmell, our Scotland Conservation Officer said:

“Whenever we do our Beachwatch cleans and surveys we always look out for nurdles and report them to The Great Nurdle Hunt because we know how powerful that data can be to make the changes needed to protect our oceans from this oncoming plastic tide.

I would encourage everyone who can to get out to their local beach this weekend to take part in The Great Technicolour Nurdle Hunt to gather the essential data we need to ask government and industry to take action!

Last time I went on a nurdle hunt with Fidra we found over half a million - how many will we find this time?”

Nurdle hunters are being asked to collect information on not only how many nurdles they find, but also their colour. This information will be used to show decision makers how widespread nurdle pollution has become.

Do you want to help stop the plastic tide? We are currently calling on UK governments to put a charge on single-use plastic throwaway items.

Actions you can take

Did you know?…

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces

Every day millions of microplastics enter the sea from personal care products such as scrubs and toothpastes

Globally, plastic litter has reached every part of the world’s oceans