First, the basics:
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that are less than five millimeters in length (think smaller than a sesame seed). A major source of these plastic bits is large plastic items that break down over time. Other microplastics are intentionally designed to be small, like microbeads, found in health and beauty products, including some cleansers and toothpastes, to give the product exfoliating or scrubbing properties.
A third source of microplastics comes from an unexpected place—our clothing.
Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic shed “microfibers” of plastic when they’re washed.
Microplastics flow straight from our showers, sinks, and washing machines into the sewer system, passing through water treatment systems, and ending up in rivers, lakes and oceans. Aquatic life and birds mistake microplastics for food, which can be lethal to these animals. Human health can also be at risk, as these microplastics can make their way into our food!
That's why our Week Three Challenge is to Find and Eliminate Microplastics!