Microplastic Pollution and how to Reduce it
When you think of plastic pollution in the ocean you might only think of plastic bottles or packaging floating around. Unfortunately the problem is much bigger than this. Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic of less than five millimetres, and because they are so small, extremely problematic for the environment.
While some microplastics are made small intentionally, others are formed because they have broken away from larger plastic items that have fragmented over time. These fragments of plastic break down even further from natural processes such as sunlight. This process goes further until the microplastics are like dust particles, which is called nanoplastic.
These microplastics can enter the ocean and the rest of the environment as they fragment into tiny pieces. The pieces are in fact so small they pass through the filters at water processing plants and still end up in the ocean. This is problematic because the plastic can be ingested by zooplankton, which is on the bottom of the food chain. This then goes further to seabirds, fish, turtles and whales- and eventually humans as sea food consumers.
It is thus important that we try to minimize these microplastics entering the oceans. The most straight forward way to do this is by reducing our use of single plastic items. Keep reducing plastic usage- keep bringing your own bags to the supermarket and using reusable coffee cups and bottles!
Another source of microplastics unfortunately are our clothes. It is estimated that up to 700,000 microplastic fibres are released from a single clothes wash. A way to reduce the microplastics in the washing machine is therefore to wash less- either by only washing clothes that are actually dirty, or by filling up the machine a bit more than you would normally do. It also helps to use washing bags that catch the microplastic fibres. The fibres then can be disposed of in the general waste bin.
Air-drying clothes also help reduce microplastics, as does washing on a lower temperature. Other things that help of course are recycling your waste properly and finally if your local area has beaches, chances are beach cleans are happening near you and the volunteers are always looking for an extra hand!
For our JUA June swimwear we would always recommend washing your items in a washing bag collecting microplastics. The swimwear is not recommended for the tumble dryer anyway- so letting your items air dry is best for both the quality of your bikini or swimsuit as well as the planet!