Despite recent political denial of global warming and other environmental issues, there are still champions of the environment from coast to coast. Some of these champions are those engaging in simple recycling plans by sorting trash for curbside pickup. Others have bigger goals, some even developing unique businesses around targeted environmental issues.
Nurdles of the Sea
One such targeting champion of the environment is Kat Crabill of Hawaii. Plastic washing up on Hawaii’s shores deeply affected Kat and moved her to do something about it. This ocean plastic is simply thoughtless waste thrown into the oceans, where it drifts until washing ashore. Some ocean plastics are big pieces like water bottles and household containers, others are tiny pre-production pellets called nurdles.
Sea life like birds and fish ingest the plastics, filling their stomachs with indigestible debris. Eventually, the creatures lose their lives to starvation and other problems. These deaths are entirely attributable to improper garbage disposal and use of non-biodegradable materials in everyday items. When the trash washes ashore, people like Crabill take it upon themselves to clean up the debris.
Unique Jewelry from Repurposed Ocean Plastics
From her loves of ocean protection, plastic removal and jewelry making, Kat created Nurdle in the Rough Jewelry. Crabill handcrafts the line from ocean plastics she removes from Kamilo Beach near her Hawaii studio. Crabill sanitizes the plastics she finds, polishes them and sets them in recycled sterling silver as earrings, rings and necklaces.
Some great features of Crabill’s products are not part of the actual jewelry, but the consciousness surrounding each piece. When you buy a Nurdle in the Rough piece, you know that Kat has exerted great effort to locate the plastic then transformed into beautiful jewelry. She travels two hours by four wheel drive from her studio to Kamilo Beach. Part of this is a trek across a treacherous lava field to where heavy storm surge, wind and currents have distributed the ocean plastics.
Each year, between 15 and 20 tons of ocean plastics and other debris washes up on the Kamilo Beach’s shores. But Kat doesn’t just search the shore for usable pieces. She fills her truck completely for sorting, with some items going to her studio, others to researchers and artists. Remaining pieces are recycled, used to create electricity or disposed of properly. Every plastic Crabill pulls from the sand is another piece that will not harm marine life.
Crafting of Nurdle Jewelry
Crabill’s production process includes photographing and cataloguing the ocean plastics as she looks for intriguing colors, textures and composition. Kat then cuts, grinds and sculpts hand-selected pieces to suit her designs. To Kat, this process is bringing out each piece’s individual story that she presents during your online shopping experience.
Kat’s jewelry starts conversations as people try to figure out what type of gemstone the pieces include. Wearers are able to explain the ocean plastic problem while enjoying the attention they receive and in knowing they have contributed to a solution to one of our planet’s biggest environmental problems. Ten percent of Nurdle in the Rough proceeds go to Hawaii Wildlife Fund for removal of more plastic from Hawaii’s coastlines.