Nurdles. The name sounds inoffensive, cuddly even…. However, nurdles are anything but. “Nurdle” is the colloquial name for “pre-production plastic pellets” (which is in itself rather a mouthful); these are the raw material of the plastic industry – the building blocks for plastic bottles, plastic bags, drinking straws, car components, computer keyboards – in fact almost anything you can think of that’s made of plastic.
However, nurdles are also covering our beaches. I found that out for myself when Fauna & Flora International (FFI) first started researching this issue in 2009. Having read about them I went looking on my local beach, and was shocked to find so many nurdles in the strandline and trapped in washed-up seaweed. I had never noticed them before, but they had clearly been accumulating for some time.