Microplastics

A microplastic is any plastic ranging from 1 to 5 mm in size

Plastics

do not

decompose

in the marine environment rather they break down

into smaller pieces

In 2014 researchers estimated that 5.25 trillion microplastics can be found in the world's oceans

 

Xanthos D, Walker T R. International policies to reduce plastic marine pollution from single-use plastics (plastic bags and microbeads): A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin 2017; 118( 1–2) :17-26. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.02.048

Larger plastic debris is weathered into microplastics however microplastics can also directly enter the marine environment. 

Direct Sources of Microplastics
Image by freestocks

Many soaps and cosmetic products contain microbeads as exfoliants.

Natural alternatives exists. 

Microfibers and microbeads are generally not addressed in the treatment of wastewater and are released into waterways

The two main direct sources of microplastics are

personal care products

and

laundry.  

Image by engin akyurt

Synthetic materials shed plastic containing microfibers when washed.

Choose cotton instead.