by on September 12, 2012

Preproduction plastic pellets, or nurdles, spilled during rail car loading. Photo courtesy of the California State Water Resources Control Board.

See more articles in:

Most recent in

See all stories in


Beverley Polt on September 13th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

For a couple of years my granddaughters and I have been finding small beads in the garden. They have no hole for threading. I thought perhaps someone’s bean bag cushion burst; (though I don’t know what those beads might look like, I could think of no other explanation.) My idea of how they arrived in the garden was that they were brought, as are acorns, by the blue jays. These little beads are mostly yellow; some are green, a few are white, and recently a blue one showed up.

Could these be “nurdles”?

Dan Rademacher on September 13th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Hard to say without seeing them. In my urban yard, we kind all kinds of ancient garbage: broken glass, nails, twist ties, parts of bricks, lighters. Our house was built in 1910, so plenty of time for detritus to build up.

That said, you might also be finding perlite, a mineral used in potting soil that, to me, often looks like broken down Styrofoam. I have never seen it in colors, however. Here’s a page about it:

Leave a Comment