Frequently, the smallest actions can make the biggest differences and the tiniest thorns can be the largest pains. This is the case with microplastics. Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long, about the size of a sesame seed. These small pieces are found in face wash, shed from synthetic clothing, and end up in our world's waterways. All water ultimately ends up in the ocean. This means that the microplastics are flowing to the oceans and end up in the food chain — inside the smallest phytoplankton all the way up to the largest whales. Clearly, water pollution due to microplastics is a big issue but can be reduced by changes in your consumer behavior.
MICROBEADS ARE A BIG WATER PROBLEM
82 percent of plastics found in the ocean are microplastics. Because they are so small, that makes it even harder to clean up. The best way to reduce microplastics in water is to avoid creating and using waste.
And it's not just the oceans. The River Tame, in the United Kingdom, was found to have 517, 000 plastic particles per square meter! These microbeads from facial cleansers and microplastics were well beyond an acceptable amount of particles per meter.
You should absolutely avoid microbeads in the products you put on your face. Revival's Goddess Face Wash uses cruelty-free and vegan products to provide consumers with ethically and sustainably sourced, free-trade body care. This means a clean face without dirtying up the environment.
MICROPLASTICS ARE A FASHION HEADACHE
Microplastics are not only in facial products but are also found in plastic-based fabrics, like polyester. Every time you wash those garments, teeny tiny plastic fibers are released into the waterways. Vox estimates that in a typical wash, 700,000 fibers could come off your clothes. This means 700,000 tiny particles in the water system entering your fruit, your glass of water, and your ice cubes every time you do the laundry.
Polyester and acrylic fabrics seem to be the worst offenders when it comes to particle loss per wash. When you wear natural fabrics, however, like cotton or even a cotton-polyester blend, you immediately reduce the amount of microplastic being released into your water. Sellers, like Alexandria Main, focus on using cotton in their garments. Alexandria Main is based in Cambodia and every purchase from her supports sustainable wages, training, and safe working conditions for Cambodian sewers and weavers. Not only will you protect waterways from pollution by buying cotton, but you will also improve the lives of women.
CLOTHING CARE FOR BEST RESULTS
In addition to changing what you're buying, following the care instructions on your clothing is the best practice. If your clothing should be washed by hand, be sure to wash it by hand! A more gentle process will keep your clothes sturdy longer and reduce the possibility that microplastics will be released. If you're ever uncertain about how to best care for your clothes (and the environment!), washing by hand in cold water is your best bet.
So, even though these little plastics are a big problem, your small adjustments in what you buy and how you wash your face and clothes can have a huge impact!