Microplastics Are Infiltrating the Environment

An introduction to the issue, and exploring the changes we can make to help reduce microplastic levels in nature.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

we are what we eat as well as what they eat.

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines microplastics as:

5 Things You Can Start Doing to Reduce Microplastics

If you’re a concerned consumer that wants to know what they can do, reference the list below for easy-to-do, no/low-cost behavioral actions. Building on familiar recycling methodologies such as Reduce-Reuse-Recycle or Refuse-Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Repurpose, this list is a practical guide with simple actions that everyday people can take without having to sacrifice their lifestyle or consumption needs.

  • Synthetic fibers include polyester, argon, spandex (lycra), nylon, etc. (if it sounds synthetic, it probably is — perform a quick internet search to confirm).
  • Reusable bags are available for purchase at most (grocery) stores near the checkout.
  • If you enjoy DIY, try cutting an old cotton t-shirt in half (horizontally) and sewing the bottom closed!
  • Is this a single-use plastic? Will I throw it away after it’s empty?
  • Is there a non-plastic/natural option for the same product? For example, if you like olive oil, consider buying it in a glass jar versus a plastic bottle — no sacrifice at the dinner table!
  • What can be recycled varies city-to-city, so you have to check.
  • Why do you need to check?: Including an item in the recycling bin that is not accepted can result in the entire load being rejected. Thus, everything gets sent to the landfill — including the items that could’ve been recycled.
  • Unfortunately, if you’re not sure whether a particular item can be recycled, it’s best to not include it in the recycling bin to avoid compromising the entire load.
  • See your local recycling company’s webpage to verify. They’ll explicitly tell you what you can recycle and where (e.g., Waste Management). For example, most recycling companies do not accept the ubiquitous, single-use plastic bags provided at nearly every check-out. Fortunately, companies like Target do accept plastic bags so you can drop them off there.

Engineer, project manager, entrepreneur, thought leader. Starting conversations about technology, society, and the future of humanity.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store