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Nurdles

Why are they an issue?

When they are being shipped, containers of nurdles

can go overboard and spill into the ocean. They can

also get to the ocean through waterways from

factories if workers are careless.

In the ocean, they get mistaken for food my marine life and can get stuck in their stomachs. They also attract bacteria and heavy metals which could harm anything that tries to eat nurdles. 

What are we doing about it?

Nurdles wash up on many beaches on the island so we often go out to collect them. 

We are currently collecting nurdles for the checkmate project which is creating an art piece with nurdles to raise awareness about the exponential increase in plastic pollution in our oceans. Check out the project's Instagram and Facebook to find out more. 

We are hoping to come up with our own creative project to do with nurdles. If you have any ideas (art piece, awareness, practical uses) then please get in touch!

What can YOU do?

You can join us at one of our beach cleans or nurdle hunts; check out upcoming ones here. If you'd like to collect nurdles in your free time, check out our nurdling guide below! If you do collect some, contact us and we can send them off to the checkmate project for you. 

What is a nurdle? 

Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets about the size of lentils. They are the building blocks of plastic and get melted down and turned into plastic items in factories. 

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Map of nurdles collected by Planet Aware:

Use this interactive map to explore our nurdle findings on the Isle of Wight so far. 

How to go nurdling!

1. Find a beach ​

Find a local beach that you can access safely.

2. Take the right equipment 

Make sure you bring a pot to put your nurdles in and wear gloves to keep your hands safe. You can also bring a hand lens to look for them or a sieve and spade to separate them from the sand. 

3. Check the strand line

Nurdles can often be found along the strand line which is the line of seaweed that marks the high tide point. 

4. Look closely

Nurdles are very small so look closely to make sure you don't miss any! You can bring a hand lens if you think it might help. If you're unsure if you've found a nurdle or if it's something else, check using The Great Nurdle Hunt's nurdle identification guide which you can download here!

5. Stay safe 

Since nurdles can attract bacteria and heavy metals, make sure you wear gloves and wash your hands after handling them, especially before eating. Also, as with any beach clean, stay away from cliffs, pay attention to the tides, don't touch anything sharp or dangerous, and ensure children and supervised by a responsible adult. 

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