|Kick butt kite-boarder . . .|
Great informational messages about alternatives to plastic and rethinking plastic waste . . .
|Beach trash ~ cheap plastic toy & bait container . . .|
The Nurdle hurdle . . .
|Plastic 'Nurdles' ~ photo credit: onemoregeneration.org|
by Charles Moore, Founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, onboard the Esperanza
But where do plastics come from? Most plastics are made from the natural gas portion of our petroleum resources. The gasses, like ethylene, are purified and turned into plastic by the use of polymer catalysts, which link ethylene molecules together to make polyethylene. Polyethylene plastics make water bottles, clothing fabric, and Tupperware as well as thousands of other products. So how does the polymer get to the processor who makes the goods for the consumer. The answer is “nurdles.” Over 250 billion pounds of nurdles are shipped around the world to plastic processing factories every year. Nurdles are plastic resin pellets that represent the most economical way to ship large quantities of a solid material, that is, in a pelletized form.
The pellets come in rail tank cars, and at 20-25,000 per pound, there are about a billion of them in each tanker. So many have escaped over the last half century during the transfer from rail car to factory by vacuum hoses, washing during rainstorms from rail sidings to the sea, that nurdles now represent about 10% of the litter counted on beaches worldwide.
In surface trawls for plastic particles aboard the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza, nurdles have been found in every trawl. The plastic industry itself is the biggest single source of plastic particles in the environment.
More beach trash ~
|Kite boarder at sunset . . .|