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The Microplastic Issue

The Microplastic Issue

Microplastics have garnered significant attention in environmental circles over the past decade. They are microscopic, they are pervasive, and they cause issues for our environment. Let's dive deeper into what they are, and why their presence is alarming both ecologists and the public alike. 
Microplastics Explained
As defined in the global assessment by GESAMP (2015), microplastics are small plastic particles with a wide range of effects on the marine environment.

At their core, microplastics are small plastic particles, usually measuring less than 5mm (about 0.2 in) in diameter. They fall into two main categories:  

  • Primary Microplastics: Intentionally manufactured for specific purposes, you will find them in places like cosmetics as exfoliating beads or in certain industrial processes as abrasives (National Geographic Society, n.d.).
  • Secondary Microplastics: These arise from the natural degradation of larger plastic items. Over time, items like plastic bags or bottles break down due to factors such as UV radiation, mechanical action, and other environmental influences (National Geographic Society, n.d.).
The Alarming Impact 
Microplastics are concerning for a multitude of reasons: 
For one, they are virtually everywhere. Barboza et al. (2018) highlight their detection even in the most remote of oceanic depths, in the seafood we consume, and even in the Arctic snow. Their ubiquitous nature means they are influencing ecosystems worldwide. 
Furthermore, marine life often mistakes these particles for food. Fossi et al. (2018) discusses how this not only harms individual creatures but, as they move up the food chain, the concentration of microplastics in larger predators can increase, a process known as bioaccumulation. The situation is further complicated by the fact that microplastics can absorb and carry other environmental pollutants such as pesticides and heavy metals, releasing these toxic compounds when ingested (Wright & Kelly, 2017).


How are They Getting There? 
The sources of microplastics are diverse: 
Everyday personal care products once played a significant role. Exfoliating face washes and toothpastes. Many used to contain microbeads, which flowed straight from our sinks, through water treatment plants, and into our waterways. 
Our wardrobes are another culprit. Washing synthetic clothing releases microfibers, minute plastic strands that can evade filtration systems and end up in water bodies. 
Then, there is the breakdown of everyday plastic items. The soda bottle discarded on the beach or the grocery bag floating on the breeze will eventually fragment into microplastics Browne et al. (2011).
Combatting Microplastic 
In the face of such a pervasive issue, what can we do? Firstly, awareness is key. The more we understand about microplastics, the better equipped we are to reduce their proliferation. 
Brands like MyEcoWorld® are leading the charge by offering alternatives to plastics. Compostable materials, like the ones we produce, ensure that what we discard leaves no lasting footprint. By choosing products designed with the Earth in mind, we are making a stand against microplastics. 

MyEcoWorld® offers product that can help assist your transition from using conventional plastics that leave microplastics behind to a more sustainable lifestyle. Our product range consists of pet poop bags, 3-gal compostable food waste bags, and 13-gal compostable food waste bags

Wrapping Up 
The microplastic issue underscores a broader environmental theme: our actions have consequences, often ones we do not immediately see. By understanding these consequences and adjusting our behaviors accordingly, we have the power to shape a cleaner, healthier future. 


  • GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). (2015). "Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: a global assessment.
  • Barboza, L.G.A., et al. (2018). "Microplastics in the marine environment: Current trends and future perspectives.
  • Fossi, M.C., et al. (2018). "Microplastics in the ocean: The ecotoxicological impact.
  • National Geographic Society. (n.d.). Microplastics. National Geographic Education.
  • Wright, S.L., & Kelly, F.J. (2017). "Plastic and Human Health: A Micro Issue?"
  • Browne, M.A., et al. (2011). "Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Worldwide: Sources and Sinks.
  • Xanthos, D., & Walker, T.R. (2017). "International policies to reduce plastic marine pollution from single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): A review.
  • Rochman, C.M., et al. (2019). "Classify plastic waste as hazardous.
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