Trash to Treasure: Hawaii Company Uses Ocean Waste to Create Jewelry
Three years ago Kat Crabill took a drive that would forever change her life. She visited Kamilo Beach on the southeast coast of the island of Hawai’i, an area that collects a huge amount of trash due to the movement of currents. It was there, while watching plastic waste wash ashore, that Crabill thought about repurposing the large plastic pieces and nurdles, small nuggets of plastic, into true gems. A top ocean plastic polluter, nurdles wash on shore in great numbers, so Crabill had plenty of material to work with. That’s when her company, Nurdle in the Rough, was born.
A trained jeweler, Crabill set out to convert this ugly plastic pollution into something beautiful, and to inspire her customers who want to take a stand against ocean waste. “They tell me that they’re inspired to clean up where they are, or to use less plastic in their daily life. Plastic is a really pervasive material that’s really hard to avoid, so I like to inspire people to think about it a little bit more and to be more aware of the decisions they make every day to avoid plastic, because every bit makes a difference,” Crabill said.
In addition to inspiring her customers, Crabill believes in supporting causes and companies that share her values. She donates 10 percent of her profits to the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, a local nonprofit that has removed over 400,000 pounds of ocean plastic from Hawaii’s coastlines over the past 20 years. She is also proud to work with FedEx based on the company’s sustainability efforts. “FedEx really is in line with my business mission and always working towards being more environmentally friendly and reducing emissions. It feels good to use a service and work with a company that is making big changes for the environment.“