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Inspiration Gallery

The Great Global Nurdle Hunt

  • 8 and Over
  • Materials

What is a nurdle and why should we hunt them?

Explore the secret life of a nurdles by taking a journey through our gallery from FIDRA, a Scottish environmental charity, who are tackling the problem of nurdles. Find out how these tiny objects affect the environment, why they are so elusive and how you can get involved in a hunt!

For more on nurdle hunts head over to www.nurdlehunt.org.uk

What are nurdles?

Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets used to make almost all plastic products. They are disc shaped, come in lots of colours and measure only 5mm or less.

Photo credit: Fidra

What’s the problem with nurdles?

Every year millions of tonnes of plastic is created, which means trillions of nurdles are produced and it is estimated that nearly 230,000 tonnes of nurdles are spilled into our oceans every year!

Image credit: Fidra

Nurdles in Nature

A Harmful Chemical Cocktail

Due to their small size and often clear colour, nurdles can look like fish eggs and other small animals which seabirds, fish and other wildlife can mistake for food. 

Left: Fish eggs (roe) Right: Clear nurdles that look like fish eggs

Photo credit: Cathy Sexton

Plastics are made up of lots of chemicals and when plastic nurdles are accidentally ingested these chemicals and pathogens can seriously harm marine wildlife.

Image credit: Fidra

How do we solve the problem?

Unlike larger pieces of plastic like bottles and nets, there’s no practical way to remove nurdles from the sea. So, the best way to tackle the problem is to prevent nurdles from ending up in the sea. 

Photo credit: Fidra

How are Fidra Tackling the Problem at its Source

Fidra is a Scottish charity that works with individuals and organisations worldwide to end nurdle pollution.


Photo credit: Fidra

The Supply Chain Approach

Fidra are working with companies and their staff to give useful tips on how to prevent nurdle spills. The goal is to have mandatory inspections, to educate companies on nurdle loss, and give them tools to help protect our oceans and their wildlife.

Image credit: Fidra

Photo credit: Fidra

How can you get involved?

Map of all nurdles hunts to date

Since 2014, thousands of local citizens have taken part in The Great Nurdle Hunt, where nurdles found on beaches are logged online. In 2020, over 200 hunts were carried out across all seven continents and nearly 9/10 beaches surveyed were polluted!  Find out how to take part at www.nurdlehunt.org.uk

Image credit: Fidra

Nurdle Hunting