PFAS-coated clothes that are thrown away will often end up either incinerated or in landfill. Unless incinerated at very high temperatures (>1000oC), fluorinated polymers could release more harmful PFAS during burning. PFAS of environmental concern have also been found in landfill leachate. PFAS is found in treated waste water from industrial and domestic sources and has been found in both rivers and groundwater. Conventional drinking water processes will not remove PFAS.Small quantities of PFAS will be removed during wash and wear of products containing PFAS. This includes fluorinated polymers used on stain-resistant coatings, and non-polymers that remain on clothes after production (Lassen et al. 2015).Non-polymer PFAS can build up in blood protein of animals, and is not always removed quickly. This means that predators eating PFAS-contaminated food will have higher levels in their bloodstream, and concentrations can increase up the food chain. Studies suggest that build up of PFAS is similar to those of other Persistent Organic Pollutants such as DDT.PFAS are estimated to be settling in arctic regions at rates of tens to hundreds of kilograms per year (25-850kg per year), depending on the specific PFAS chemical in question. Certain PFAS are released as gases to the environment and are blown a long way by wind and air currents in the atmosphere,. These gas PFAS will over time degrade to more persistent chemicals like PFOS and PFOA. This may be one reason why PFAS of environmental concern have been found in remote regions such as the Arctic as well as near PFAS production sitesPFAS including PFOS and PFOA have been found in air samples around Europe. The chemicals are found in small quantities, but appear in almost all samples tested. PFAS enters the atmosphere both from factories and the air inside our homes. Non-polymer PFAS are used in the production of fluorinated polymers. The manufacture of stain-resistant finishes generally releases these PFASs into the environment, both by air and water emissions. They are very hard to remove during water treatment. Workers in textiles factories are some of the population most exposed to these potentially harmful chemicals.
COP 26 Nurdles - Fidra
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Preventing plastic loss

Total Number of Nurdle Hunts so far: 5980

Nurdles are small plastic pellets used to make almost all our plastic products. An estimated 230,000 tonnes of nurdles, the equivalent to 15 billion plastic bottles, escape into the environment every year. This plastic pollutes our oceans before it has even been used to make anything. The Great Nurdle Hunt collects evidence of plastic pellets on beaches and creates solutions to stop pollution at source.

Nurdles loss


Billions of nurdles leak out along the plastics supply chain into the environment every year.

Once in the environment, nurdles spread far and wide, they are impossible to clean up and can’t be recycled.

Wildlife mistakes nurdles for food, causing harm. Nurdles have also been associated with potentially toxic chemicals.

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Nurdle Hunts carried out by volunteers worldwide gather data on pollution. This demonstrates the scale of the problem to industry and governments and shows that people want to see further action.

We can stop this pollution at source. Careful handling can prevent spills while thorough clean-up and filters in drains stop any spilled nurdles reaching the environment.

We want best practice measures required across the plastic supply chain, with external inspections enforced by legislation, to make sure the whole industry plays their part.


nurdle hunt 2021

Take part in a nurdle hunt and join thousands of others across the world collecting data to strengthen our asks for worldwide solutions.

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Look at the results from our:

Great Global Nurdle Hunt 2021 >

We have been working with industry, trade associations, NGOs and decision makers to create plastic supply chains free of pellet pollution.

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