Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Great Winter Nurdle Hunt

Last Saturday we took part in the Great Winter Nurdle Hunt. Nurdles are pellets of plastic that are the raw material of all of our formed plastic goods. Shipped around the world in vast quantities, they inevitably end up in the sea.

Predictably, the kids got a little bored of looking for lentil sized pieces of plastic - the beach equivalent of asking them to pick up their Lego I suppose. The sea has been wild this week, and had washed up plenty of inspiration to capture their interest, like this little fella:



I've never seen a hermit crab in the wild, and it took my breath away - a blast of that wonder I felt as a child when I found tiny fish in rockpools, or a squid washed up on the shore - and with it the realisation that I'd found something precious, and that I wanted to protect it.

We walked along the beach for around three hundred metres, and I scoured the shoreline for nurdles and other plastic waste; whilst the rest of the gang stocked up on shells, pet rocks and crab limbs. We ate our picnic, complete with individually wrapped crisps, yoghurts and punnet fruit - and made our way back up to the prom.

I didn't know whether my one bag of plastic rubbish was something I should be pleased about or annoyed. It could be worse, right?




Not ten feet from where we landed on the prom, stacked neatly next to the public waste bin, were 7 huge white sacks full of rubbish, collected earlier that day by an official beach clean event. I'd collected the scraps left behind.

Dani at Eco Footprint ~ South Africa shared this short documentary on her blog, and I think it is worth a watch. It is infuriating and frustrating - and yet, there is a small thread of hope running through it. 



I keep having moments of realisation regarding my plastic footprint, but in the same way it took me years to embrace veganism, it's taken me years to really feel like I could embrace a plastic-free or even zero-waste lifestyle. I've attempted it before, failed, and given up - not convinced that it is impossible, but rather that I am not up to the task; that it won't make any difference, that there is no point if the rest of the family won't come on board. 
I think I am just about ready for it.  I can't stand it any more, the damage I do that is completely preventable. First do no harm.


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