Meet the Nurdles | The Food Party! | Laura Stec | Mountain View Online |

Local Blogs

The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

View all posts from Laura Stec

Meet the Nurdles

Uploaded: Feb 16, 2019

Went to the coast a couple weeks ago to help Surfrider San Mateo clean up Venice Beach in Half Moon Bay. Wow – what a nice beach - can’t believe I haven’t been there before. Please forget I just told you about it.

I grab my bucket and gloves from the check-in table and head out for what I'm thinking is gonna be The Big Take.

I am going to fill up this bucket with more stuff, faster than anyone! Funny to see my competitive side kick in about garbage. At first there’s nothing to grab (volunteers already cleaned this part?) and the farther out I go, there's still is no trash. I mean none, zero, ziltch.


Turns out it was King Tides day, named when spring tides break exceptionally high. And that water was powerful; I know cuz’ I got in after the cleanup. At one point the retreating tide pulled all the sand from underneath, whisking me off my feet, and dunking me on my head. Some cutie pie surfer came by with his “Better be careful, those tides will pull you out to sea.” Uh, thanks kiddo, I think to myself, wiping sand away from, and out of, everywhere. I’ve been out here longer than you have been alive. King Tides took away everything today – not just me. All the logs, seaweed, and yes, trash; gone, gone, gone, back out to sea.

I started thinking cleanup would be nothing more than a sunny stroll down a trash-free beach, until I met up with Sea Hugger, a local nonprofit working to free the ocean from plastic pollution. They brought along their Nurdle, a large sifter, and a really cute guy.

Run the sand through it and surprise!

A lot of the beach is not beach. It looks like small shells, but look closer - it’s actually slicked down shards, ball-shaped bumps, and spongey squiggles of plastic, broken into very small pieces, also called nurdles.

I become Horton in Horton Hears a Who. We are here, we are here, we are here, we are here. They’re everywhere! I never saw them till now. Look closer. All those white dots in this picture are plastic. There were no bottles or bags to pick up, but the beach was still trashed.

Most plastic on the beach is single-use food packaging; we have Food Partied! about it. I didn’t realize though that so much of the beach pollution doesn’t look like trash at all – it looks like sand and shells. Hand sifting isn't the answer, but wow does it show the magnitude of a problem.

Want to join the effort to help rid our ocean and beaches of trash and food-waste plastic, large and small? Check out the Surfrider calendar for upcoming cleanups, held once or twice a month on the weekends. The next cleanup gathers at secret beach, Tunitas Creek just south of Half Moon Bay, March 17th, 10 AM – 12 PM. It was at Martin’s Beach - a Food Party! favorite, if you read this blog a few days ago, but they changed the location and the date.

What are Nurdles?

graphic from Sea Hugger. All photos by LSIC

*learn the history of Martin's Beach, and meet Nicholas Martin

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Rolanda, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Feb 16, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Can nurdles be used for cat litter or a child's sandbox?

Probably more cost-effective than buying sand as it is free for the asking (or rather taking).

Might even work for weed abatement as well. Just cover the ground with a plastic sheet & dump nurdles on top of it.

Many good uses...and maybe even recyclable to a certain extent.

Posted by Reader X, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Feb 16, 2019 at 6:34 pm

Move up higher, above the high tide line (which was obscured by the king tides). You will find plenty of garbage there. If you don't see it, just stop and twist your feet into the sand. There will be cigarette butts galore.

Or go back up to the parking lot. There you will find a a boatload of trash regardless of the tide level. Remember, the wind is going to push that crap into the ocean eventually. Most beach cleanup participants ignore the parking lot. Trust me, I've done plenty of these.

Then walk all the way up to Hwy 1 and cross the road to the leeward side. All that garbage you find on the road shoulder is going to end up in the water.

Posted by Bill Horn, a resident of another community,
on Feb 17, 2019 at 3:16 pm

We are former Santa Cruz people, then relocated to San Jose, then was injured, 91 days in the hospital, now reside in the Cali Central Valley

Posted by Nurdling IS Fun, a resident of another community,
on Feb 17, 2019 at 9:11 pm

> Most beach cleanup participants ignore the parking lot.

Cleaning up a parking lot is not fun. Sifting for nurdles offers more enjoyment as a clean-up activity because you get to walk along the beach.

We have done it and afterwards we sometimes hold a clambake. Since the lobster shells and corn cobs are bio-degradable, we just toss them into the ocean or off a pier. The seagulls love them.

Posted by So nobody is mislead, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Feb 18, 2019 at 2:07 pm

There are no dogs allowed on Martin's Beach. The picture above suggests otherwise, but the person in that picture is breaking the law. Access was fought hard for. Don't blow it all by showing up with your dog. The MB locals get very angry and many take maters into their own hands out there. A citation would be the least of your worries.

Posted by PC Ryder, a resident of another community,
on Feb 18, 2019 at 8:15 pm

> There are no dogs allowed on Martin's Beach.

Are horses allowed?

Posted by Hee here, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Feb 22, 2019 at 9:58 am

If you can't find a beach where it's legal to walk with your dog, leave them home. It's not all about you and what you WANT to do.

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Worried about the cost of climate change? Here is some hope.
By Sherry Listgarten | 25 comments | 4,101 views

The Time and Cost Savings of Avoiding a Long Commute
By Steve Levy | 5 comments | 1,071 views

Analysis/paralysis: The infamous ‘Palo Alto Process’ must go
By Diana Diamond | 1 comment | 889 views