No Straw November - Nurdles & Formosa
No Straw November continues to help educate people on how small changes can make huge impacts for our environment. If at all possible, try to avoid single-use plastics and look for environmentally friendly alternatives.
This year, No Straw November is highlighting the work of Diane Wilson and her grassroots movement that is challenging the Formosa Plastics environmental disaster in her Texas community. I hope by watching her story, it inspires you to continue to educate people on the affects of single-use plastic on our planet. Diane Wilson Texas Gold Youtube
In addition to the video, take a moment to read the recently published article on the Gulf Coast plastic pollution environmental disaster that Diane has been fighting for 30 years. It's a must-read to fully understand the gravity of what's at stake on the future health of our waterways and planet. Texas Monthly - Gulf Coast Plastic Pollution
My hope is that you will read this and understand that companies such as Formosa Plastics continue to expand their operations throughout the world and are harming our health and our environment. This is not just a Texas problem, it's happening in Taiwan and Vietnam and if Formosa gets their way, St. James Parish in Louisiana.
What is a Nurdle?
The story of a lost nurdle begins and ends in the ground. Drilling companies extract oil and natural gas from the earth and sell the raw fossil fuels to chemical plants that make plastics and synthetic resins. (Forty-six companies have permits to do so in Texas, with more facilities coming soon.) Some plants, such as Formosa, transform molten plastic into pellets. They then sell the pellets to manufacturers that turn them into consumer goods like straws, Styrofoam, and water bottles. Along the way, billions of nurdles—which have an unfortunate tendency to roll and ricochet—escape, spilling onto roads or riding wastewater into the sea.
The origin of the word “nurdle” is unknown, but synonyms abound: scientists who study pollution sometimes use the technical term “plastic resin pellet,” whereas the more whimsical “mermaid tear” is popular among beachcombers. (“Nurdle” has other definitions too, including a strategically gentle shot in cricket and the little blob of toothpaste that sits on the bristles of your toothbrush.) Plastic-industry insiders, meanwhile, favor the bloodless term “preproduction plastic pellet,” a reference to the nurdle’s place in a supply chain that stretches from underground petroleum deposits to grocery-store shelves.
Typical day of pellets and powder on Lavaca/Matagorda Bay. Photos by Diane Wilson.