Land Based Solutions

Most nurdle pollution starts on land and comes from plastic production sites, spills during transport and when nurdles are converted to plastic products.

A range of solutions are being developed around the world to stop losses of nurdles on land. Solutions are needed to address:

Pellet loss at plastic production site

If not managed well this can be a major point source for nurdle pollution. Some voluntary measures have been implemented at some sites but without legislation, standards and external verification voluntary measures are not wide ranging enough to stop pellet loss at production sites and further solutions are needed. Site location should also be considered alongside production controls. See solutions below:

Pellet loss during transport and handling

To date pellet loss during transport has not been adequately addressed, voluntary measures such as OCS did not extend to transporters. Further action is needed including a legislated supply chain approach, labelling and handling.

Pellet loss during conversion

Companies buying and converting pellets into plastic products are also sources of pellet pollution with few solutions currently in place to address this.

Pellet loss during recycling

As more and more plastics are recycled, plastic production may expand to include not just a few large virgin plastic production plants but to a number of smaller recyclers also producing pellets. While recycling is an important part of the circular economy a proliferation of unchecked recyclers could make nurdle pollution even more extensive.


It is likely more than one solution will be needed to address the issue. A legislated supply chain approach could stop 95% of pellet loss but depends on having rigorous standards and certification scheme plus monitoring and enforcement. Production sites should be carefully sited, so that, should spills occur impacts can be contained and damage limited and this also relies on having clean up protocol and technology as a failsafe.


These resources have been developed by organisations around the world to support addressing nurdle pollution. They can be referenced with appropriate credits and unless stated are not created or endorsed by Fidra or the Great Nurdle Hunt

Flora and Fauna International – Stemming the tide – putting an end to plastic pellet pollution – 2022 Report only

Overview of nurdle pollution and solutions 2022

BSI Specification for Plastic Pellets PAS510

PAS510:2021 sets out requirements for the handling and management of plastic pellets, flakes and powders throughout the supply chain to prevent spills, leaks and loss to the environment

Scottish Government – Preventing plastic pollution from pellet loss: supply chain approach 2020 – Report

Summary of work commissioned on behalf of the Scottish Government Plastic Pellet Loss Steering Group

Organisations working on land based solutions

Please note Fidra is not endorsing these organisations or their work we are simply helping you find people who may be working on nurdle pollution by listing them below

Surfrider foundation
Good Karma Projects
FFI logo

If you are working on this issue and want to be listed please add yourself to our directory here