When you hear the term Mermaid Tears, you may think it’s a new indie band breaking onto the scene, but they are actually small plastic resin pellets polluting the ocean, more commonly known as Nurdles. The pellets range in sizes from around 1mm to 5mm and are used to make various plastic goods in large-scale plastic manufacturing. Through the manufacturing process, they are melted down to form whatever shape needed. During processing and transportation, many Nurdles are unintentionally spilled, ending up in the ocean via sewers and other waterways.
So, while the names are cute (“These Nurdles Are Hurting The Turtles,” could totally be a Dr. Seuss book), these pellets are heavily polluting beaches and oceans and harming the marine life that ingests them. The solutions to this problem include increasing awareness, clean-up, and projects like Operation Clean sweep, started by the Plastic Industry Trade Association with the help of the American Chemistry Council to provide plastics manufacturers with knowledge and help to ensure in the future there will be no more Mermaid Tears.