How to avoid microplastics at home

Our top 5 tips on avoiding microplastics

Is most likely you’ve heard about microplastics and what impact are having on environment, fauna or even to our body in long term. If you you don’t know what are microplastics and how can affect us, don’t worry, today we will cover this topic in our article. Learn also our top 5 tips on how to avoid them at home.

In recent years, more and more instuituions and businesses are getting involved in research of microplastics effects on our water, environemnt and our body and methods to counteract their effects. So, let’s discover together what are microplastics,if are dangerous and where can be found.

Did you know?

  • Microplastics in different forms are present in almost all water systems in the world, be they streams, rivers, lakes, or oceans.[1]
  • Plastic fibers were also found in bottled water produced by 11 of the world’s largest brands purchased from 19 locations in 9 countries. 93% of bottled water showed some sign of microplastic contamination, including polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) [2]
  • A single fleece jacket sheds up to 250,000 microfibers during a single wash.

What are Microplastics ?

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic, less than 5 mm in length, with a wide variety of sources and types. Normally, a microplastic starts as a larger piece of plastic which breaks down in smaller pieces over a period of time due to the elements, such as ocean water, sun or wind.

Most plastics that end up in our oceans will break into smaller pieces. However, are plastics which are designed from the beginning to be small in dimensions, such as microbeads used in beauty scrubs. 

The use of microbeads into cosmetic and cleaning products have been banned just recently, in 2018 for the United Kingdom.

Where do Microplastics come from ?

Microplastics are having as many sources as any plastic product – it will depend on the type of chemical is used to create the plastic material. So, the sources for microplastics are: car tyres, synthetic clothes, personal care products, plastic packaging, road markings, paints, plastic plates, cups, etc. 

The presence of microplastics have been detected in water, atmosphere both inside and outdoors, in the products we consumed (such as meat, milk, plants) and even in pregnant women’s’ placenta.

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Why Microplastics are Bad for Environment and Your Self ?

As we mentioned before, more and more academics and business owners are getting involved or are founding research about the effect of microplastics. These small plastics are found inside birds, whales and fish. Also, the latest researches found tiny pieces of plastics in water, table salt, seafood and even in meats.

So far, microplastics have been found in more than 114 aquatic species and shown the potential damage to reproductive systems and the liver. In 2018, a study shown traces of plastics in human stomach and faeces. Also, it is speculated that microplastics have been detected in a womb of a pregnant woman. [3]

Our Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Microplastics at Home

The first and most important thing we can do to avoid microplastics is to reduce in first place the use of plastic products. More than ever, moving towards plastic free alternatives should become our new lifestyle standard. Changing products and modifying our daily habits can bring the change we desperately need more and more to protect our environment and ourselves.

  • Switch to Reusable

The main products which we can choose to change to a plastic free alternative are disposable coffee cups, plastic straws, plastic cutlery, plastic water bottles, plastic bags and plastic food packaging.

Looking into reusable alternatives for these items will help to reduce the single use plastic and the plastic product demand. You can find tens or even hundreds of products which are not using plastic, such as these: reusable coffee cup made of glass, an eco-friendly coconut bowl and more.

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  • Opt for natural fibres
Another measure we can take to reduce the plastic production, therefore the microplastics, is to buy clothes made from natural materials. When you wash your laundry, due to the temperature and friction between clothes, microparticles are released which eventually will end up into our water streams. 
 
So, opting for a natural fibre when we are buying our clothes will reduce the production of microplastics. Here are some examples of natural materials for clothes: hemp, cotton, wool, cashmere, jute and linen.
 
Of course, you shouldn’t just throw away all your clothes and go buy a replacement from natural fibres. It should be something to consider next time you are going shopping, choose a cotton jacket instead of one made of polyester, acrylic, rayon or nylon.
 
  • Switch to Wooden Accessories

Disposable dishwash scrapers, dish brushes, plastic clothes pegs or synthetic food bags are just some products which should go out of your monthly shopping list. Instead, look for plastic free alternatives and help us to reduce the amount of plastic used in today’s society.

  • Choose plastic free dental care
Probably the 2nd most found plastic item on a beach in this world (after the plastic bottle and cap) is the plastic toothbrush & toothpaste container. So, with a small change into our daily behaviour we can make a big difference for our oceans and our future generation. Choose a bamboo toothbrush and a plastic free toothpaste alternative
 
  • Switch to Plastic Free Sponges
Disposable dish clothes also release microplastics into our waters and would require a small effort to stop it. Just switch to a reusable dish clothes or switch to a biodegradable one which can be composted at the end of its life. Some examples would be coconut fibre scouring pads, reusable compostable sponge clothes or reusable organic dish cloths.
Becoming more thoughtful and adopting a more zero waste and a plastic-free attitude will help to reduce our impact on the environment by removing slowly the sources of microplastics. Changing our production and consumption patterns will make a difference and by having the correct legislation, the right changes will be made. We just need to keep informed and be more thoughtful when comes to what, from where and how we buy and consume. 

Do you have more tips? Did if you found the “Our top 5 tips on avoiding microplastics” article useful, please share it with your loved ones and friends and who knows, we can become the change.  Thank you and hope to see you soon. 

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