5 Surprising Things You Are Doing at Home that Contribute to the Massive Microplastic Pollution

  • Jul 5, 2019
  • 250 views

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE3vuU6-uLM[/embed]

Are You Eating Plastic for Dinner? | Short Film Showcase

What are microplastics?

Microplastics are extremely tiny pieces of plastic which are smaller than 5 mm. As a result of their diminutive size, sewage and wastewater treatment plants are not able to remove them with the filters. Therefore, these tiny shreds of plastic eventually make their way into the oceans and rivers.

Where do microplastics come from?

Microplastics originate from a wide variety of sources and are categorised into primary and secondary microplastics. Primary microplastics are manufactured plastic microbeads which are made from polyethylene plastic. These microbeads are commonly used in beauty products such as cosmetics and personal hygiene products such as cleansers and toothpastes. Secondary microplastics come from larger plastic discards that have been broken down into smaller pieces from UV and environmental element exposure over time. They enter the ocean and the river through surface runoff, plastic landfills, drainage networks and wastewater treatment plants.

 

________________________

Why are microplastics harmful to us?

Image from Microplastics

Do you know? Microplastics are made of plastic which is non-biodegradable and insoluble! An average person could ingest 100,000 plastic particles a year — equal to one credit card a week!

Image from BBC

As a result, the microplastics pose grave danger to the environment once they enter the food chain; starting when animals ingest the microplastics infested oceans and rivers. Eventually, the microplastics end up in our body through contaminated food; yes, around 114 aquatic species have been found to be contaminated with fibers of microplastics!

One study has discovered that up to 273 microplastic particles per pound (600 particles per kilogram) of salt (Microplastic Pollution in Table Salts from China) were present when 15 different brands of sea salt are examined!

We Know Plastic Is Harming Marine Life. What About Us?!

The negative health impact of the microplastic contamination is beginning to show (source). Some of the possible side effects include increased growth of breast cancer cells, toxic accumulation in the liver, kidneys and intestines, airborne microplastics that may induce lung cells to make inflammatory chemicals and disruption of reproductive hormones by Bisphenol A (BPA), a well known endocrine disruptor.

 

________________________

5 surprising things you are doing at home that contribute to the massive microplastic pollution!

1. Using garment and bed linen which are increasingly made of plastic

Many of the garment and bed linen are made of polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide, aside from natural materials such as cotton and linen. As a result, they can shed up to 700,000 microfibres microplastic with each wash.

Image from Helpwiththewashing

What can you do to stop microplastic pollution? Always check the label to ensure that your purchases are made up of 100% natural organic material. Furthermore, avoid over-washing the items and opt for sun dry instead of tumble dry.

2. Using laundry, dishwasher pods and tablets which contain tons of microplastics

Detergents and disinfectants that contain scrubbing agents have microplastics (made of either polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP)) which are released during each wash.

Image from Helpwiththewashing

What can you do to stop microplastic pollution? Switch to plastic free detergents, dishwasher and soap nuts, which are made from plant-derived ingredients which are earth-friendly alternatives.

 3. Using wet wipes for almost everything

Almost all wipes (hand wipes, feminine, baby wipes, make-up removing wipes, wet wipes, kitchen or floor wipes) are made from polyester, polyethylene, and polypropylene – or a mixture of those plastics and natural fibers. Aside from non-biodegradable, when these synthetic fibres are flushed down the toilet bowl, they are usually the cause of expensive sewer blockages and beach contamination. The Marine Conservation Society in the UK found a steep 50% increase in wipes found on beaches between 2013 and 2014. Unsurprisingly, when these wet wipes found their way into the sea, they also contribute significantly to the presence of microplastic pollution!

Image from Tata and Howard

What can you do to stop microplastic pollution? Switch to the more eco-friendly traditional all-cotton flannel. Always dispose the wet wipes properly and never flush them down the toilet bowl!

4. Using tea bags

Unknown to many, most tea products make extensive use of plastics; from their packing to their tea bags! In fact, their tea bags are made of plastic polymer, polypropylene which seals up, holds the contents of the tea bags together and retains the tea bag shape when they are soaked in boiling hot water.

Image from Treading my own path

What can you do to stop microplastic pollution? Avoid purchasing tea in the form of tea bags! Always choose to purchase the loose-leaf tea, which is cheaper and more flavorful as they are not grounded to dust!

5. Using Personal Care and Cosmetic Products (PCCPs) with microbeads

Microbeads are tiny plastic spheres specially manufactured to use together with PCCs such as shower gels, makeup, toothpaste and lotions to add an exfoliating effect or simply to make the products look more attractive. These are usually made from polyethylene, a synthetic resin which is also widely used for plastic bags and packaging. Due to their size, they will bypass the filtration systems and invade the oceans and rivers. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, between 15 and 30% of microplastics are derived from primary microplastics!

Image from 5gyres.org

What can you do to stop microplastic pollution? Find out whether the PCCPs contain microbeads by doing a quick online check at Beat the Microbead before making the purchase.

________________________

Here is a very useful infographic that summarizes the threat of microplastics

Image from GreenMatch

 
Tags :

Meet Interior Designers. Get Quotes.

Get in touch with our listed renovation companies. They will provide you with a free non-obligatory estimate for any of the Renovation Packages included in their services.

Related Posts

Newbies, here is how you should maintain these 8 common HDB flat features

Newbies, here is how you should maintain these 8 common HDB flat features

If you have just recently become a proud owner of a new HDB flat, read on how to maintain the following 8 common HDB flat features and keep them looking pristin...

Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes When Looking for an Interior Designer in Singapore

Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes When Looking for an Interior Designer in Singapore

Looking for an interior designer to renovate your home? Make sure you aren't making these 5 mistakes. 1. Thinking firms featured on TV or in a magazine are rel...

8 Tips to Buying Furniture Online Like an Expert

8 Tips to Buying Furniture Online Like an Expert

In this post, we have checked with the experts for insider tips, on how to buy furniture online for every nook and cranny in your house, while avoiding common...

60 Quick Renovation Tips for 1st Time Homeowners

60 Quick Renovation Tips for 1st Time Homeowners

There is a beginner's guide for you so that you can renovate your first home with little stress. In this post, interior designers and renovation experts spill t...

How to Achieve More Privacy in Your HDB or Condo

How to Achieve More Privacy in Your HDB or Condo

One of the downsides to apartment living, whether it’s in an HDB or a condo, is the lack of privacy. Having the units located literally next to each other is ba...

Renonation
GET FREE QUOTE