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8 Examples of Microplastics

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Microplastics are plastic particles that are smaller 1 mm in diameter. They are manufactured for use in products such as toothpaste and industrial processes, often as a scrubbing agent. Due to their size, they are often not recycled and end up in waterways and oceans. Microplastics can also result from the breakdown of larger plastic items. The following are common examples of microplastics.
Clothing (synthetic fiber)
Industrial processes
Breakdown of larger plastics
Cleaning products
Agricultural plastics
Tire wear
Filter-feeding organisms often consume microplastics where they enter the food chain. According to some estimates there are around 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world's oceans.


Plastic takes between 50 and 600 years to breakdown
The breakdown of plastic releases chemicals into waterways
Plastic may threaten species, including small species that are the basis of the ocean food chain.
Plastic enters the food chain at the lowest levels where it may impact the health of all ocean species and humans.

Potential Solutions

Capture and recycling at sewage treatment facilities
Reduction of waste from marine transport and commercial fishing.
Use of natural scrubbers such as crushed almonds in cosmetic products.
Use of plant based biodegradable plastics for industrial scrubbing.
Natural fibers in clothing
Collecting and recycling macro plastic debris in oceans
Overview: Microplastics
Small plastic particles that enter the environment, particularly waterways and oceans where they become part of the food chain.
Related Concepts
Next: Ocean Plastic Cleanup
More agricultural issues:
Air Pollution
Cascading Failure
Creeping Normality
Cultural Lag
Environmental Impact
Environmental Issues
Existential Risk
Forest Dieback
Global Warming
Material Diversity
Quality Of Life
Resistance To Change
Right To Know
Space Junk
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