By looking for nurdles on your local beach you can have fun and help show the local plastics industry their impact on our estuary.

The great nurdle hunt © Fidra

Your findings will help us persuade industry to take up the challenge of making the Firth of Forth the first zero nurdle loss estuary in the UK.

What are nurdles?

Nurdles are small plastic pellets which, when melted together by industry, make nearly all our plastic products.

How do nurdles end up at sea?

Nurdles spilt on land at industrial facilities float off down drains and ultimately, out to sea. They are also lost at sea from ships or at port when being handled. Currents and wind disperse them quickly and they are now washing up on beaches across the globe. Beaches along the Firth of Forth are accumulating them in worryingly large numbers.

Why are nurdles harmful?

Like other plastics in our sea nurdles …

  • attract and concentrate environmental pollutants like DDT and PCBs to highly toxic levels;
  • are mistaken for prey by many marine animals and seabirds and enter the food chain;
  • do not go away - they just fragment into smaller and smaller plastic particles.

In the North Sea 95% of fulmars studied contained plastic - astonishingly 273 nurdles were recovered from one bird’s stomach. Help end nurdle pollution right now!

There is currently no practical way of removing nurdles from the sea but we can stop the problem from getting worse. New nurdles are washing up on the shores of the Firth of Forth but we don’t have detailed evidence of where they are coming from or how widespread the problem is. By looking for nurdles on your local beach you can have fun and help show the local plastics industry their impact on our estuary. Your findings will help us persuade industry to take up the challenge of making the Firth of Forth the first zero nurdle loss estuary in the UK.

If you think the plastic industry should to do their bit to keep our seas clean and plastic free, join the great nurdle hunt!

There are tips to help you hunt on our website and a leaflet you can download. When you have nurdle hunting is over remember to share your findings online. It’s really simple to report your sightings. We want to know where you were nurdle hunting, how many you found and how long you were hunting for. Pictures of your finds are also really helpful and you can upload them on line too.


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