Written by Jade Walton, Transforming Lives Trainee
In honour of Plastic Free July, here is some useful information about microplastics, where they come from, and how you can reduce the spread.
Micro plastics come from two main sources: the first being tiny plastic fragments made for use in products such as toothpaste and face wash, alongside the plastic that sheds from materials such as nylon. The second source is from the degradation of plastic items like plastic bags and water bottles.
The spread of microplastics in the ecosystem is very wide reaching, easily ingested by animals and humans alike with microplastics being found in the ocean, lakes, ponds, rivers, and, rather worryingly, drinking water! So far there is little known about the effects of microplastics when ingested, but while scientists figure this out, the least we can do is reduce the amounts of microplastics we release into the environment.
Here are a few handy tips:
- Avoid cosmetic products containing plastic beads. Plastics from the likes of toothpaste and face washes are rinsed down your drain and straight into the water system.
- Where possible, avoid the use of single use plastics. On days out it is helpful to be prepared: bring a reusable bottle of water, use travel cutlery instead of disposable, and of course, bring your own bags when shopping!
- Avoid buying synthetic clothing, made of materials like nylon and polyester, and when washing any items of clothing made from these materials you do own, it is best to airdry rather than tumble dry to reduce the shedding of plastics.
- When it comes to disposing of any plastic items, be sure to do so correctly. Recycling is always key, and supermarkets now tend to offer recycling services for clean single use plastics that cannot be recycled from home, such as bread packaging and crisp packets.
Anything a person can do is a positive step to reducing microplastic waste.