Microplastics nurdles in hand Matt Barnes

What are nurdles and why are they a problem?

1 minute read

Erin O'Neill

24 Feb 2021

Nurdles are small pellets used to make nearly all the plastic products we buy.

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

The rising number of nurdles being found in our seas is a cause of great concern because:

  • 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

We are working hard to decrease the number of nurdles in our oceans.

One way you can help is by collecting information on the number of nurdles you find on the beach, and their colour. Report this information to The Great Nurdle Hunt, they'll use it to show decision-makers how widespread nurdle pollution has become.

“Whenever we do our Beachwatch cleans and surveys we always look out for nurdles.

Catherine Gemmell, MCS Scotland Conservation Officer

Find out more about The Great Nurdle Hunt.

Why not organise a team beach clean with us? Your support will contribute to a cleaner, healthier, better-protected ocean.

Team beach cleans