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Environmental Issues: Searching For A Solution To Microplastics

30-Oct-2015
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The issue of microplastics polluting our environment (and consequently our health) is gradually gaining widespread concern. The problem of microplastics has only recently come to the public’s attention, but unfortunately there is no quick solution. In this post, our specialist cleaners answer some questions about microplastics, including:

  1. What are microplastics exactly?
  2. Why are they causing environmental concern?
  3. What products can they be found in?
  4. What is the solution to microplastics?

What Are Microplastics And How Are They Affecting Our Environment?

Microplastics are defined as plastic particles of less than 5mm, commonly known as ‘microbeads’; whilst this might not sound very big (many are just less than a millimetre wide), the sheer quantity of microplastics and the harm that they can cause to our marine life and environment is simply unacceptable.

Microplastics can be found in a huge range of beauty and personal care products, from exfoliating scrubs and peels that smooth our skin to premium toothpastes, household cleaning solutions and more. The only way to really know if a product doesn’t contain microbeads is to look at the ingredients – it won’t say ‘microplastic’ or ‘microbead’, but it will list a type of plastic, such as:

  • Polyethylene / Polythene (PE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
  • Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
  • Nylon

Before microplastics were ever a thing, companies would use more environmentally-friendly alternatives that still kept our skin soft. These included anise seeds, coconut, sand or salt. The fact is that, even though they (often leading brand companies) put a premium price tag on these products, using plastic particles instead of traditional ingredients is actually cheaper for them!

The presence of toxic micro plastic beads in our environment has a number of negative impacts. When we rinse these products off, they find their way into our sewers and into the ocean. Fishes and other marine life then consume these bits of plastic, mistaking them for food; this is not only detrimental to their health, but also humans too, as the plastic components can then enter the food chain.

Some companies have already pledged to stop using microbeads, but we are still far from finding a sustainable solution. A ban on microbeads in cosmetics and other products is part of the answer, but stringent recycling strategies to limit plastic waste entirely should also be put into place. Whilst awareness of the problem is becoming more known and a push for legislation continues, consumers should look for more environmentally-friendly substitutes for the time being.

Environmentally-Friendly Specialist Cleaners

Here at Julius Rutherfoord, our specialist cleaners our highly trained to select and use the most suitable cleaning agents for your establishment. As we are an environmentally-conscious cleaning company, we also provide the option of using chemical-free agents and have a strict no-landfill policy on all of our recycling and waste management solutions.

If you would like more information about the services our specialist cleaners can provide, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Call 020 8003 4460 today or email us at info@julius-r.co.uk.

Julius Rutherfoord