What Are Micro Plastics?

Here at SΛM & LΛNCE, we are all about reducing our plastic waste and helping educate our consumers on how they can do the same! We can understand that single use plastics and plastics of a larger size (i.e. straws, utensils, water bottles) are harmful to the environment, did you know that micro plastics are just as damaging?

 

So, What Are “Micro-Plastics?”

Micro-plastics are tiny particles of any type of plastic but measuring at 5mm or less in diameter. They can be classified as either primary: particles that are made specifically to be that size or secondary: particles that are remnants of larger pieces.

Unfortunately, these types of plastics are filling up all marine and aquatic eco-systems – no matter how big or small. Because of their small size, they are quite often mistaken for food by fish and other animals. These plastics cannot be digested by the animals and end up accumulating in the stomach until there is no room left for food. 

 

 

Where Do They Come From?

Micro-plastics are a lot more common than you think, unfortunately. Secondary micro-plastics can come from any plastic and other materials that have been broken down. However, primary micro-plastic is hidden in everyday items around your home.

Body care: items like face wash, body wash, exfoliants and toothpaste that contain “micro-bead technology” use materials called polyethylene or polypropylene to help scrub away dirt and grime.

Clothes: synthetic fibres like spandex, polyester or nylon can shed from garments and end up in our waterways. 

Other Plastics: bits and pieces from other larger plastics break down, break off and enter our soils, drains and the like.

 

What Can I Do to Help?

 Try using as many natural ingredients as possible! Make a homemade exfoliator using sugar or coffee instead of buying drugstore brands or use bars of soap instead of hand wash. If you buy items from the store, make sure to look at the ingredients or materials first. If it has polyethylene or polypropylene listed, it contains micro plastics. Also try to avoid purchasing clothing that has polyester as one of its components. Look for more natural fibers!

You can also try to avoid plastic packaging that cannot be recycled. For example, switching peanut butter brands to the one that comes in a glass jar as opposed to plastic. I

 

While it may seem difficult to avoid certain products, all it takes is a bit of research for alternatives. Building awareness is key.

Let us know if you have found any favourite natural products in the comments below!

 

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