Putting Numbers on Nurdles

Study briefing front page

Putting numbers on nurdles: study to quantify pellet loss in the UK

Over the last two years, our nurdle hunters have reported seeing countless pellets on beaches all across the UK and abroad, but it is impossible to know how old they are or where they come from. Fidra were keen to find out how many new pellets might be entering the environment from industry today. For this reason, we commissioned an independent study of plastic pellet loss in the UK, which was carried out by Eunomia Research and Consulting


The aim of this scoping study was to assess how much data was available, and to give a first indication of the number of pellets that might be accidentally released into the wider environment in the UK each year. 

The estimates provided in the report are based on a review of previous studies alongside some new information from UK industry. The data available to make these estimates was very limited, and more direct information from industry would be required to get more robust numbers. We would welcome further research including audit, carried out with support from the plastics industry, to monitor pellet spills and observe improvements made by the voluntary Operation Clean Sweep® scheme.

The full report is now online, download it here. To summarise the results and put them into a bit of context, we have also provided a briefing document, which you can download here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information or comment. 


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