The massive, unregulated source of plastic pollution you’ve probably never heard of – Nurdles

A nurdle is a bead of pure plastic and billions of these tiny plastic pellets are floating in the ocean, causing as much damage as oil spills, yet they’re still not classified as hazardous.

They are largely an invisible pollutant. Because they’re so small—about the size of a lentil—they’re hard to clean up and easy to overlook.

Nurdles are the starting point for all plastic products. Every year, trillions of nurdles are produced from natural gas or oil, shipped to factories around the world, and then melted and poured into moulds that produce water bottles, sewage pipes and the millions of other plastic products we use every day. 

A nurdle, being less than 5 millimeters around, is a microplastic from the moment of its creation, over time the pellets, which will take up to 1,000 years to disintegrate, may build up in the food chain, sickening fish and potentially humans and when it comes to the environment, every plastic nurdle is a disaster.

The worst nurdle spill occurred in May 2021 off Colombo Sri Lanka after the X-Press Pearl caught fire and partially sank. The vessel was coming from India to Sri Lanka with 1,377 containers on board, 422 of which contained nurdles of various polymers. The nurdles, included burnt and melted nurdles dispersed over 300 kilometres of the Sri Lanka coastline.

The ocean is not the only place where nurdles end up; on land, they’re often found near ports and factories, or strewn along roadsides and in fields after being spilt during transportation.

We’re committed to reducing our reliance on single-use plastic and encourage our customers to take advantage of the choice of recycled and bio-degradable packaging options available.

Ethical and sustainable practices are at the forefront of our minds, not just because it’s the right thing to do but because we know it’s what our customers want.